05
Dec
11

Season of giving?

The holiday season is often refered to as the “season of giving.”  But is it? I’m not just talking about giving to ourselves, friends and families, gifts we most likely don’t need – but giving to those who are truly desperate, marginalized, forgotten, abused or hungry?

Sometimes our response to the idea of generosity is “I’d like to give but right now I [we] don’t have enough money or resources to spare and until we’re doing better financially – we can’t be expected to be generous to others – we just can’t do it.”

Yet as Christians, the Apostle Paul calls us to “carry each other’s burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.”

The famous preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards responded to this mentality with the following comments….

“In many cases, we may, by the rules of the gospel, be obliged to give to others when we cannot do it without suffering ourselves…If our neighbor’s difficulties and necessities be much greater than our own, and we see that he is not like to be otherwise relieved, we should be willing to suffer with him, and to take part of his burden on ourselves; else how is that rule of bearing one another’s burdens fulfilled?

If we are never obliged to relieve others’ burdens, but when we can do it without burdening ourselves, then how do we bear our neighbor’s burdens, when we bear no burden at all?” [Jonathan Edwards, Christian Charity, The Works of Jonathan Edwards]

With this in mind, can we say this is truly the “season of giving” or “carrying other’s burdens?”

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1 Response to “Season of giving?”


  1. 1 Karen
    December 6, 2011 at 3:06 am

    This past Sunday’s message was very convicting, Ray–one of your very best in my opinion. This is something that has been getting regularly impressed upon my heart these past few years, being that it is so central an Orthodox Christian understanding as well. This is the heart of what it means for an Orthodox Christian to be transformed into the image of Christ (“deified”)–to be in union with Him, which is the purpose of all the spiritual disciplines. Thanks for your faithfulness to drop the “other shoe” of the gospel in its fullness. Living faith, the only kind that saves us, inevitably expresses itself in an increasing capacity for self-sacrificial love.


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re: the random-ness

Husband. Father. Senior Pastor of Parkview Community Church in Glen Ellyn, IL.

Ok...so you've located the place where I put down my random thoughts. The key word here is random: music, sports, art, food, books, news, spiritual musings, weird stories, etc. I'm especially interested in how everyday experiences of life intersect with the ancient stories of Scripture. Thanks for reading.
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