I’d like you to think about the story, the true story, of ten men who had leprosy. In Jesus’ time, this was a very serious disease; there was no treatment for it. People with leprosy were declared ‘Unclean’ and sort of quarantined – put in an area away from everyone else. Just before Jesus entered a village, He came to the place on its outskirts where the lepers were, and He told them to show themselves to the priests. People with any form of skin disease would do this, and the priest would decide whether their condition had improved, but this time was different. On their way to see the priests, all ten men were completely healed, but only one of them came back to Jesus. The Bible tells us he shouted praises to God, bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him (Luke 17:15-16). And Jesus asked: “Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?”
Do you see? Our response to what we’ve received can be a gift. When you think of Jesus leaving all the glory of heaven to come into this world, knowing His purpose was to die on a cross to take our punishment for the things we’d done wrong, how do you react? He didn’t hold onto selfishness; He didn’t hold onto what He could have been; He put all of that down – for us; He gave His everything for us. In response, will we give Him full control of our lives – of all that we are?
And let’s come back to finances again: I don’t know where you live this Christmas season, but maybe you’re like me. Maybe you have a roof over your head; clean water at your fingertips; enough food to eat; the clothes you need to keep warm; a church where you can meet together to read the Bible and worship God. So when you see others who don’t have those things, what’s your response? Well, here’s how you could respond. As you read that little list, which of those things were you most grateful for: Was it the house you live in? Then why not consider providing emergency shelter for a child and family ($50)? If it was clean water, you could help build water reservoirs for children and their families ($23).
As I’ve said before, I know Christmas can be a difficult time of year. Compassion want to use their gift catalogue this month to raise money for children in poverty, and I want to help them. They tell me nobody knows my audience like I do, but to be honest, I don’t know every one of my readers. (I’d love to get to know you better, so please, always feel free to comment.) I don’t know who’s going to stumble across this post, and I don’t know what their financial circumstances are, so I’ll just leave you with a question.
Giving is how we respond. Remembering what we’ve already said this month about giving cheerfully and using what you’ve got, will you search your heart and think what you want to do about Compassion’s gift catalogue? Are you happy to pass it by, or will you bless somebody else, as a thank-You to God for all that He gives?