We’re self-centered, aren’t we? I mean, it’s incredibly difficult not to be consumed with ourselves most of the time. After all, we’re us. We live our lives, not others’. We look to fulfill our desires and needs much of the time, only looking to the needs of others when it’s convenient or when we can personally benefit from it. We strut our stuff, and believe we’re God’s gift to the world. What we fail to realize is how right we actually are.
I’ve been participating in a small group study entitled “iMarriage,” that was authored by Andy Stanley. Essentially, the study focuses on the tension between our desires and our expectations as it pertains to the marriage relationship. But, truly, the principles in the study are relevant and applicable for relationships outside of marriage, not just between husband and wife.
Perhaps the most profound message I have received through this study is what Andy said about how God uses us in relationships with others. He explains that God looks at us as a channel of His goodness, love, grace and mercy to others. When we accept Christ, we become pure and holy in His sight. That’s because He has washed away our sins, canceled our debts. In turn, we need to be loving, serving, and giving to others. Not because they deserve it. But, because God does that for us – even though we don’t deserve it!
So, that certainly raises the bar on our role in each and every relationship we have with another human being. Basically, God has given us as a gift to another. That’s right – we are literally God’s gift to mankind. He has chosen us to bless other people. But, here’s the kicker – we must do it unconditionally. We cannot have strings attached. We cannot have ulterior motives. Sure, we can hope that by serving people and giving more that we’ll have a positive influence, but we cannot stop serving, giving, and loving if we never see the desired outcome.
With it being Christmas, there’s really no better time to come to this realization: you need to give yourself away. And, don’t wait until you “feel like doing it” to do it. That’s the fatal error we make all too often. We hold back blessings because our heart just isn’t in it. But, as it has been said before, go ahead and do what is right, and the feeling will follow.
We each have immeasurable influence in the lives of others. We have numerous opportunities each and every day to lighten someone’s load, offer an encouraging word, give selflessly of our own resources, or do something intentional to help someone else. They may not deserve it. They are likely flawed. Perhaps they have fouled up one too many times. But, you know what? You were there once, and you could be there again. The difference is you have the privilege to help them overcome it.
I’d like to invite you to join me in doing something this holiday season. I’d like you to take a $20 bill and put it in your wallet or your pocket. Then, I’d like you to pray daily for someone who could really use that $20. And, sometime over the next week or two, I want you to give that money away, preferably to an individual that you encounter. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s the “right person.” When you give that $20 away, you are giving a gift. No strings. No stipulations. Don’t worry about how it will be spent. Do it joyfully.
And, with humility – not pride – be confident in knowing that you are truly God’s gift to others. As Max Lucado once wrote, “God’s greatest gift is Himself.” And, this Christmas, He’d like nothing more than to use you to deliver that precious gift to someone else.