This is Week 6 of our Generosity Series. Need to start at the beginning? Read the Introduction here.
Many of the tribes of the Pacific Northwest of Canada and the United States once took part in a ritual called the potlatch. Though these ceremonies are less common today, it is still a part of some great celebrations in certain communities.
In short, a potlatch, according to our own Winston Wilson, is a gift-giving feast wherein a person, or family, would give away everything they had and would then be lifted up by the community as honored leaders and were gifted items far beyond what they gave away.
(Potlatches of this sort don't really happen anymore. Instead, they are big, extravagant feasts that usually happen at the time of a name giving and can cost upwards of $10,000.)
Lesson #5: What you have to give is incredibly small compared to what you have coming to you.
Trust me, this is not prosperity theology. I am not saying if you give, God will bless you with riches beyond your belief! Jesus does tell us in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.". But, in the Sermon the Mount, which closely parallels this section of Luke and happens at a similar time in His ministry, Jesus tells us, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy... for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:20-21)
The moral of the story: give and it WILL be given to you, but not necessarily here on earth, in dollar signs or diamonds.
Our reward has already been given to us by Jesus' death and resurrection. Our inheritance waits for us in heaven to be given to us in full when we are reunited with our Heavenly Father. And what God asks to give while we are here on earth is a pittance compared to what we will receive.
Like the families that gave everything to their community, confident of what was waiting for them, are we willing to give beyond our comfort, trusting that, because of our faith in Jesus as our Savior, we have the ultimate reward awaiting us?
Jesus gave up everything. What will we give?
Beyond the physical gifts, are we willing to share our reward?
Nowhere in the Bible does it say, God is only letting in a certain amount of people. Jesus doesn't tell us to hold tight to our eternal reward or someone may steal it from us.
He says the opposite: "Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." (Matthew 5:15)
Generosity during the Advent season is far more than giving material gifts, it's about sharing the gift of Light that has already been given to you.
We do this by simple, everyday actions, and we do this by intentional, thought-out plans.
How will you be generous with the gifts you have been given?