Christmas is quickly approaching!
Like many of you, I am searching for the best, most meaningful gifts for the people I love. Yet no matter how much I spend and what gifts I give, no gift will compare to the priceless spiritual gifts the Father has given us to build others up. (Romans 12:6-8)
If gold, frankincense and myrrh are out of your price range, try giving one or more of these three powerful, free gifts:
The Gift of Encouragement
Discouragement is more common than the cold. Everyone has had it; nobody likes it. For this reason, the gift of encouragement is one of the easiest yet most powerful gifts. And it’s free! When we encourage others, we come alongside them to provide the comfort and strength they need to fend off discouragement.
The word translated as “encourage” in many of our English Bibles comes from a Greek word (parakaleo, Strong’s #3870) which means to comfort, call forth and exhort. The word is similar to another Greek word, (Parakletos) which is used to describe the Holy Spirit’s work of coming alongside believers to help.
When you encourage someone, it is as if you are coming alongside them to provide them with the comfort, strength and the support that they need. What a gift! Who do you know that could use the gift of encouragement today? Take the time to write a card, an email, send a text or give a call to the person in need.
The Gift of Serving
Serving others sounds like a demeaning and thankless job to the world. In the kingdom, however, serving others is the highest honor and privilege.
Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves (Luke 22:25-27)
Looking for a promotion in the kingdom of God? Great! Just find a place of need and start to serve. It can be in your home (think dishes!), your church (the needs are always great), or your community (soup kitchen, anyone?). If you want to find significance, purpose and meaning in life, learn to serve other people in need.
The Gift of Mercy
Do you know anyone who suffered a major loss this year? It could be a loved one who died, a bad prognosis from the doctor, a financial crisis or some other major loss. For those who are suffering and in pain, Christmas and the holidays can bring about more pain than joy.
The gift of mercy can be a priceless gem to anyone who is suffering this Christmas. (Romans 12:8) Take a moment to consider the people you know who have suffered loss this year and seek to show them the empathy and compassion they so desperately need this Christmas season. (Philippians 2:3) If you are one who is suffering this Christmas, my prayer for you is to know and experience the comfort of God found through the Holy Spirit in a whole new way.
The Giving Lifestyle
Let’s remember that giving to others does not need to cost a lot of money and it was never meant to be seasonal! Giving is the lifestyle of every believer in Christ!
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)