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A Christmas Carol

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. - 2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV

You may remember the scene in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol where the gentlemen collecting for the poor call upon Ebenezer Scrooge. In response to their request, Scrooge asks if there are no prisons, workhouses, and laws to provide for the poor. When the gentlemen try again, saying, "Many can't go there, and many would rather die," Scrooge responds, "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

At this point, we feel pity and embarrassment for Ebenezer. How could he possibly be so hard-hearted? Of course, this is the beginning of the story, before his transformation from his miserly existence to being a joyful and cheerful giver.

We are instructed in scripture to give generously, but whenever we give, we are to do so cheerfully with grateful hearts. Scrooge could have given generously but still done it grudgingly. His aid would have been put to good use and alleviated the suffering of many, but it would have done nothing to change his heart–he would have been the same miser.

Instead of reflecting on all he had and being thankful, poor Scrooge was trapped by what he didn't have. It's tempting to be like Scrooge; reflecting on what we don't have–a masterful trick Satan uses–we become unhappy. Despite having roofs over our heads, plenty to eat, clean clothes to wear, and discretionary funds to spend on things we enjoy, plus all those possessions in our closets, attics, cellars, garages, and sheds, we don't know what to do with, Satan tells us perhaps tomorrow, there won't be shelter, food, clothing, or money in the bank. In short, Satan says, "God will fail you." However, when we reject Satan and instead reflect on God's faithfulness and provision, we become thankful, and from that place of thankfulness, we become cheerful.

God, we give you thanks for all your good gifts. We acknowledge everything we have comes from you. May we offer our gifts with glad hearts in response to your grace. Father, please accept our gifts of time and money and bless them. May they relieve suffering and carry your message of redemption, encouragement, and hope to the world. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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