A Giving Challenge: A Response to Black Friday


Today, the day after the national celebration known as Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday.  It is the day most retailers either make profit or end up losing money for the year. It is a day that has become known for the start of the “Christmas shopping season” where promises of deals and discounts abound. 

In our culture the Christmas Holiday has come to be about giving gifts to one another.  The tradition is supposed to be reflective of the gift of Jesus coming to earth so that we might be able to be reconciled with the creator. It was the ultimate display of love.  In turn, the giving of gifts has become symbolic of love, and how much or how expensive the gift reflective of our love.  Love has become something bought and paid for, rather than acted upon.  

Now I appreciate the custom of giving gifts and enjoy both giving and receiving. The focus is often about understanding those around us and giving them something they want or need.  Good givers know the person they are giving and match well those wants and needs.  Sometimes the gifts given are simply reflections of self.  Yet, the way we give is incomplete. It is done in love and may touch the person you care about. But what is given can readily be forgotten or discarded.  The question for me is how to give that truly reflects God’s love.  The answer as a starting point is to give in a way that not only touches a person but actually builds them up in an area of deep need that may not even be expressed.  It requires identifying and responding in a way that elevates the person wholly.  The giving touches a part of their self: strength, heart, soul, or mind.  It is something that goes beyond what is readily apparent and touches a person at a deep level reflecting God’s love.

So here is a challenge. How about turning the giving to others to be more than supplying a want or need in a persons life this season. With the love that you want to demonstrate truly find a way to build up those you love.  Find a way to touch them and supply something missing that goes beyond shallw desires and perceived needs of self.  Take time to reflect and pray and identify a way to bring a lasting blessing rather than a consumable item readily disposed or set aside. Find something that build up their hurt in the midst of where they are at, that touches the self with love at a deep level.  Also the challenge will be do not just do it for those that you love and care about ,but also find someone in the community that you may or may not know and touch them with a piece of love that reaches a level that builds up what is lacking. Let God lead you to touch either those that you know, those that you are aquainted, or those that you did not know at all.  Above all find a way to give to touch others that reflects God’s love as a genuine reponse to His gift to us that has touched us completely.

Now perhaps this challenge resonates with you but you feel overwhelmed with the prospect and do not know how to start.  Well here are a few steps on engaging in such giving. 

Step 1: Depend on God. Start with prayer. Turn these actions over to God first and for most. In order to be a true reflection of the gift or Jesus, everything starts with God.  Make this act of giving an act of worship and bring God to the center.

Step 2: Identify who to touch with these blessings.  Make a list of people that God puts on your heart and start praying for them. It might be a good idea to identify who in your family God wants you to bless, who in your circle of friends/acquaintances, who in your church, who in your workplace, who in your community, and even who else somewhere else in the world.

Step 3: Explore how.  Start praying and thinking of ways to touch these other people.  What are the areas that need building up? Perhaps you know they struggle with fears, how do you touch them?  Perhaps they faced significant loss?  Ask for wisdom from God in how to meet these needs and listen to His voice.

Step 4: Act on how you are lead.  It is one thing to perhaps think about giving in such a way, it is another to actually follow through. Please do follow through with at least one person.

Now this type of giving may involve money, but the better and more touching way of building up those you know involves no money.  This type of giving can serve to truly function as a reflection of God’s love.

Please feel free to leave comments about your response to this challenge and what God’s does in your life in relation to it.  Feel free to post comments here on the blog or in addition on the forum in this thread: http://www.peacebringer.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=2114#p7222.

I can tell you God led me to give in such away about five years ago know. I was lead to write a blessing which resulted in prophetic words to people in my family and members of a small group at my church.  God has stirred up in my heart today to find ways to give in such a manner this year as well as encourage others to do the same.  I look forward to seeing and hearing what God may do and who he touches.  Please pass this article to those you know as well.  If you receive a link to this via email, pass it along. Let’s see genuine response to God’s love giving this year, building up those with gifts of blessing.

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks Tim
    Great piece and badly needed today. Christians of America have become very self focused. The world cannot see Jesus in us when we don’t express our love in unselfish ways. God put it on Janie and my hearts to join the Love Revolution. In involves selfless giving all year, not just Christmas. We purchased the Love Revolution circulmim from Joyce Meyers and hope to start a Love Revolution group to share jesus’ love with others in need. So your post is right on target. The Lord has been stirring my heart for some time about the loveless christanity in our country.

  2. lol Tim, I have a hard time understanding your words sometimes, they feel a little vague, but I know your heart and you are VERY right! 🙂

    I apologize in advance if this comes across rude in any way at all, I have noticed my writing in the last week has been exuding a very cocky tone, but I’ve been trying to kill it haha. I think its because I’m finally starting to feel better after months of sickness. 🙂

    One thing for me that I always remember is not to give out of compulsion, or because I feel I have to. If God wants me to give someone something, I will, whether that is my time, my words, a hug, money, a gift, or whatever. I actually didn’t get to this place until just a few months ago, I used to always think I had to give 10% to the church or I’d go to hell or things like that, now I don’t. Now I give to whom God tells me to and when he tells me to, not because someone else says I’ll be poor for the rest of my life or go to hell. Besides, I’m fine with being poor because I am rich in God. 🙂

    I enjoy Christmas because I ALWAYS love helping people, but during Christmas people are more open to recieving help. I always want to help in any way I can and I just noticed some people wont recieve it at any other time. haha One thing I do on a regular basis, which may seem small, is show respect to my elders by bowing or holding doors open. 🙂 I know it seems silly, but its fun and rewarding because sometimes you can tell that they are happy that someone young isn’t rude! 🙂

    I always want to give, so it is hard not to give sometimes, but I am really trying hard to get to the point where I only give when God gives me liscence to and not because its expected or even just because I think its a good idea. 🙂

    God Bless ~Amy

  3. Amy,

    Thanks for the words actually. I do not know when I am unclear unless someone points it out to me. I acutally at times can skip a central part of my thought process and can leave things unclear. I try and think it through and check for lack of clarity but sometimes I miss. Please, if clarity is lacking please let me know.

    What God put on my heart is to encourage others to give in such a way that it builds them up. It is reaching some level of their self: Mind, body, soul, or strength that has some need of touch. It may not be clear readily, or you may have a sense. They key is to find a way the builds up someone in such an area of self need. It probably will be beyond what is readily aware. It is asking God to really enable giving that touches a person deeply and shows God love in a deep way.

  4. Great post, and an awesome challenge! I was casually strolling about a couple of stores yesterday afternoon (no early morning for me,) and even in that environment, when I was on a mission to find gifts for others, it was hard not to look at all the pretty shiny things and imagine how good they would look in my own home. Somehow, even giving has a hard time taking center stage in the season of giving.

  5. Very good article… I posted the link from my blog as it was a great addition to what I was writing, on giving.
    Blessings my Brother,
    Judy

  6. Challenging indeed Tim.
    With the shops heaving on Black Friday, and the lines to the checkout a mile long (a SLIGHT exaggeration of course, but it sure FEELS like a mile), it is really easy to find ourselves looking for a bargain even though we have no need of any new item whatsoever. Certainly the prevailing mood that abounds is one of gimme,gimme,gimee.

    BUT…… life (God) has a habit of throwing up opportunities that require acts of giving, and often when we least expect them, making your challenge to us realistic and inspiring Tim.
    I myself will be back in Brazil for christmas, laden once again with gifts for the impoverished children living in squalor, (oh what joy) but picking up on your sentiment, I agree that the spirit of giving isn’t necessarily material/money etc. but a Christlike heart, be it a word of encouragement, a smile, or as Amy said bowing and holding open doors for elders. Yikes Amy, if I find myself on the receiving end of a bow, I’ll know it must be you cos I’m no spring chicken 🙂 sigh….. God Bless you, I LOVED it.

    Thank you for focusing our attention on the things that really matter at Christmas Tim, it is always good for us to be reminded and take heed amidst the hustle and bustle of activities. Thank you Jesus for putting such a challenge on Tim’s heart.

    Have a blessed CHRISTmas everyone, and give, give, and give again.

  7. […] the love of Jesus.  It did serve as part of the inspiration of the giving challenge issued in an article written on Black Friday. The Tuohy’s gave and it touched Michael Oher in a way that built him up and touch not only his […]

  8. […] wife is dying and is due to die any day now.  The contents of the song also seem related to the giving challenge God led me to issue. The challenge was to give in such a way to build up others, reflecting […]

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