” A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great (Proverbs 18:16).”
There’s a story in the news today about a four year old who snuck out of his house in the middle of the night, drank a beer and stole presents from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.
This story is strange and even a little humorous. Mainly though, it is sad. Reading the story you feel for this family under stress. Apparently the boy figured if he stole presents he would get to be with his father in jail.
I do wonder about the thinking of the “man is basically good” crowd when I read something like this. Because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, man is basically corrupt. We’re born with this corruption. So even a four-year old can do selfish things.
Selfishness is at the root of much of what we do. I think of my own spiritual journey. Admittedly, much of my prayer life is about good ole’ me. My prayers are something like this: “Lord, save me, give me strength, provide for me, help me out at work..”.You get the drill. Occasionally I will pray for others -my wife, my kids, my friends (but that’s only on Mondays and Fridays!).
Many times we are more than willing to sing the praises of God for the attributes related to His deliverance, as the Psalmist does in Psalm 18. But how many of us are like the apostle Paul, who subjected himself to all kinds of hardship, abuse and humbling for the sake of others (II Corinthians 10:24-27)? He actually saw these things as being of help to him, because they caused him to rely on God’s power instead of his own (II Corinthians 11:10).
Paul had great credentials and didn’t have to kowtow to anyone. Yet, he felt he had to review his resume with the Corinthians because he was their spiritual father and was concerned about their welfare. He wanted their respect and love because he knew if they followed him, it would benefit them. What he suffered and put up with was for their growth (II Corinthians 11:19).
At this Christmas season, it’s appropriate to be unselfish and give, even to those who don’t respect us. It could go a long way in resolving disputes, bad feelings and the like,.