I am a writer for my church's newsletter. I do not consider giving a seasonal thing and feel that it is something that we should do year round.
The Spirit of Giving
A minister had served for only a short time at a small church situated at a village. He then noticed that one parishioner did not have a suit of clothes for Sunday services. The minister had preached long and hard about giving freely to others.
Since the Christmas season had just began and the great day was not too far away, the minister decided to see what effect his preachings had on his parishioners. Therefore, he placed an insert in the church bulletin that he wanted church members to donate a used suit of clothes for next Sunday services.
The evening after the church’s Sunday services, most of the parishioners read the bulletin insert. However, a small number of parishioners did not read the insert. They always relied on other parishioners to call them and gossip about new items in the bulletin. Therefore, that Sunday evening, the topic of gossip was the donation of a set of Sunday clothes.
Several of the parishioners were well off compared to the other parishioners, but decided not to donate a suit of clothes. It meant that they would have to wear one suit of clothes twice during the month of Sundays. Several other parishioners were not well off but had more than one suit of clothes. They decided not to donate a suit of clothes either. This meant that they would have to wear one suit of clothes three times during the month of Sundays.
There was however one poor parishioner, who had only two suits of Sunday clothes, and lived in a rundown bungalow at the edge of town. . He pondered the pastor’s teachings of giving ungrudgingly to others according to the Christian faith. He decided to donate one of his suits to the parishioner who did not have a suit.
On the next Sunday at church, the minister gave the suit of clothes to the other poor parishioner. The parishioner then stood and thanked the giver profusely for the suit of clothes. The parishioner then explained that he was a wealthy philanthropist, who had no desire for worldly things. He had spent a lifetime giving to the needy. He then looked kindly upon the giver of the clothes and exclaimed, "I can not give you heaven, but here are the keys to the new bungalow that was recently built at the edge of town. This is my gift to you."
The philanthropist’s gift to the giver supports the Christian doctrine that those who give ungrudgingly will receive more in return. I am also reminded of my old departed German colleague’s adage, "It is not important that you dress like it is Sunday, but how you present yourself."
I wish you all a happy holiday season. It is also a season of giving.