There are many people in this world that are focused more on gaining and
think very little about the blessings of giving. What they are missing is
one of the greatest Joys of the soul. The feeling that givers receive when
a good deed is done is immeasurable by this world's standards. Giving to
others is not merely a suggestion in God's Word, but it is a command as we
read in Matthew 10:8 “...freely ye have received, freely give.” As you go
through your days, make a decision to be more giving of yourself, your time
and your finances and you'll receive the reward of being a blessing.
I hope today's message encourages your heart to both see the blessings that
givers receive and make a decision to impart the gifts that you've been
given into the lives of those around you.
THE SMALL WHITE ENVELOPE
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas
tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the
branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true
meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it - overspending...the
frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and
the dusting powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you
couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts,
sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.
The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at
the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a
non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These
youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be
the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our
boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling
shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was
wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a
It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended
up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys
got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado,
a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them
could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like
this could take the heart right out of them.”
Mike loved kids - all kids - and he knew them, having coached little league
football, baseball and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an
assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the
inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the
note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.
His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in
succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition--one year
sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game,
another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned
to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last
thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new
toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the
envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the
envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas
rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree
up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the
morning, it was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on
the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand
even further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us. May we all
remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas
spirit this year and always.
By Nancy Gavin
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
Philippians 2:2-3 “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same
love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife
or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are
unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all
men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that
which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
Galatians 6:1-4 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are
spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering
thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so
fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when
he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work,
and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
Revelation 22:12-14 Jesus declares “And, behold, I come quickly; and my
reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of
life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
Today’s Selected Poem: THINGS I HAVE LEARNED
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/enpoem122.htm
Today’s Selected Testimony: MY SALVATION STORY
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony120.htm
In Christ’s Service,
Gods Work Ministry