The past Thursday marked the beginning of a period of time when our focus is supposed to shift away from ourselves and toward others. These weeks, often collectively known as the season of giving, is my very favorite time of year. However, over time savvy marketers and retailers have commandeered this term “giving” to become synonymous with buying for too many.
The transition was so gradual that it’s hard to identify when exactly it happened. Charlie Brown was railing against this commercialization of the holidays as early as 1965 so it has certainly been with us at least that long, and probably much longer.
There have been some attempts to return the spirit of giving back to the whole Christmas season. In fact, Giving Tuesday, which is a worldwide movement focused on making a positive difference in the world by giving of our time and treasure occurred yesterday. While the observation of giving Tuesday has been growing in popularity, it has yet to really catch on the way consumer driven days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even small business Saturday have.
This is all really a shame, because as Maya Angelou once observed “among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” As a fellow person of faith, I believe strongly that God calls on us to give. Not because he has a need, but because we do. I believe giving is the way in which we train ourselves to recognize that it’s not ours to begin with. Giving softens our naturally selfish hearts and forces us to focus on something other than ourselves. While it is true you can give without love, it is impossible to love without giving.
Giving is so much more than mere monetary donations however. True giving is the full relinquishment of something valuable to someone else, with no anticipation of ever receiving anything in return. This can be your time, your attention, your emotions, and yes, also your possessions.
One of the reasons I am so proud to work for the company I do, is we try to put this fundamental belief into practice every day. Through volunteering, significant financial donations to non-profits, and emotional support to those who are struggling, I believe we remain true to this fundamental biblical teaching.
Whether giving is something you are excited about, or something you know needs to be more of a focus in your life, we would like to help. We will be hosting a virtual seminar on December 9th on the topic of giving, it will not only focus on the importance of giving, but will also provide specific tax strategies you can use to increase the overall impact your monetary giving can have. Check out our website at www.stewcap.com for more information.
In this same spirit of unconditional giving, we will give to all who attend a hardback copy of the life changing book The Treasure Principle. In it, author Randy Alcorn focuses on the eternal impact giving can have. He explains that “while we can’t take it with us, we can send it on ahead” by following Matthew 6:20 where Jesus says to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven rather than here on earth through the act of giving.
While I will admit, selfishness often causes me to fall short of the example I have been given in Christ, I pray that this season more than any other before, I would represent His spirit of unconditional giving in all that I do. I have that same wish for you as well.