Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A Seasonal Reflection: Self-Sacrifical Giving

God is a generous person.

His goal for us is generosity as well; generosity of heart and soul reflected in our financial and emotional investments, seen in our effort to be serving the needs of others above our own, observed in extending energy and enthusiasm on behalf of others.

We are to give money, time, energy, care, and love.

Give. For God so loved the world that He gave...

The seasonal reminder of such great, generous love is here once again. Christmas. It is a good reminder. He gave, we thus receive if we will, and He then transforms us to be free to love in similar fashion.

We have a phrase around here, borrowed from who knows where, but it is a phrase that has proven to be a perfect measuring stick for my emotional tendency to be rather me-centered: Be a "there you are" person and not a "here I am" person.

When I enter a room, attend a party, answer the phone, welcome company in, I am best off if I recall that simple phrase: Be a "There you are" person and not a "Here I am" person. That little phrase focuses me on His will, His generosity, His purpose for me in that very moment. That phrase reminds me to cultivate an interest in others, to set aside my natural tendency to self-interest (what will they think about me, will they make me feel welcome, who is going to say hi to me, I don't feel like being here, none of these people interest me, etc, etc. -- I think you get the point.)

You probably know people who exemplify this "there you are" quality, this generosity of soul. You quite possibly have made an assumption about such people. We tend to think, "They were born that way, they have outgoing temperaments, they are people oriented -- unlike me. I am not."

News bulletin! We were all born self-centered, self-interested, and self-seeking sinners. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, people oriented or project oriented, the bottom line is that you are self-oriented. Taking ground in being genuine "there you are" people is a work of the Holy Spirit - a work in which we are all called to participate. It is His plan for us.

Become interested in others above yourself. Seek their good and not your own. Enter a room wondering who is there and how can you meet a need or bring a blessing. Go to the office, the classroom, the party, with those thoughts in mind. Welcome that phone call or that person at your door with genuine care for them.

The stable at the Inn was visited with that very perspective. A baby entered into the world. He came to us, not in a self-seeking manner, but to bring, to give, to bestow His love and life. We are called to do the same every day.

So -- set yourself aside: your insecurities, your concerns about rejection, your laziness, your lack of interest, your whatever. Set it all aside and in self-sacrifice offer up that moment to Him for His purpose, for His use. He will. He will use you.

And in that very moment you will bring a bit of the true meaning of Christmas to your world.