If you spend any amount of time in church around Christmastime, you’ll probably hear someone quote a famous line attributed to Jesus: “‘It is more blessed to give than receive.” It’s a wonderful saying, and reminds us of the warm feelings that well up within us when we give generously
But I’ve come to think that Jesus isn’t just being sentimental here. There’s something practical and powerful about a good gift. A gift sets things in motion. It changes the status quo. A gift has the potential to trigger generosity and reciprocity in everyone it touches.
We saw this in action at the Maker’s Place last Saturday, when we invited member families to donate their gently used children’s items, and then shop from other families’ donations. What started as just a few items turned into three tables full of clothes, jackets, strollers, and toys. We never ran out, and we ended up with more than we started with!
It goes to show that there is true abundance in Trenton--a wealth of resources and good will among our individuals and families. But the key to unlocking that abundance comes from the power of a good gift: the gift of free diapers. When you donate diapers to the Maker’s Place, your gifts not only keep children safe, clean, and dry, but they also create a culture of generosity--what sociologists call a “Gift Economy.” It’s a place where people are willing to give, because of all they have received; where people are able to forgive, because they have been forgiven; where people are free to love, because they know how much they are loved. It’s what Jesus was talking about when he talked about the kingdom of God.
There is true abundance in Trenton--a wealth of resources and good will among individuals and families. But the key to unlocking that abundance comes from the power of a good gift.
Of course, Christmas reminds us that all this giving didn’t begin with us. Christians believe that Jesus is God's best gift: the gift of Immanuel, God with us. It’s a gift far better than we deserve, and far beyond what we could ever repay. But it forever changes the way we think about giving and receiving.
So when you’re out shopping this week, I invite you to give the gift of diapers. You’ll make a change (quite literally!) for families who struggle to afford diapers. But you’ll also unleash the power of generosity in others, and set off a cycle of abundance here in Trenton. Truly, it’s more blessed to give than receive!
Thanks for your gifts, and all the best, Pastor Michael