Column by Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: Why do we give gifts to others?


The presentation of a gift can be a beautiful thing. The suspense of finding out what is behind the wrapping can be delightful. The motive behind the gift, however, can be initiated with mixed emotions. A gift from a co-worker can be a setup, while the gift from a friend should be a reminder that the friendship matters. Who would give a gift without any strings attached? No one. Everybody gives with some type of motive in mind. Even the mysterious philanthropist giver has a motive. His motive is to bring hope and joy to the recipients of that which he or she has sown.

Why should we give? The beauty of giving unexpectedly releases happy juices into the soul of an individual. Think of the millions of people who leave home in the morning with no intentions of returning because they have already planned a suicidal act. The words you give today can change the course of somebody's life. Oftentimes we rob dying people of the hope they need for that moment because of fear. I dare you to give hope today, I dare you to give love today, I dare you to give a hand up to a fallen person.

What does the young child who has been sexually violated by a person he or she held at high esteem need? That child needs a caring person who would allow God to lead him or her to bring about a mental breakthrough for them. Every day we pass by hundreds of people who need a gift from you to provide a little hope for them. I will never forget passing by a dilapidated mobile home one day, and I heard the Lord say, "stop, go knock on the door and give the person who comes to the door $20." I immediately said, "What can $20 do for that person?" So I just kept on driving down the road. A few weeks later, I rode by that same house and the vehicle was gone, the curtains had been removed from the windows, and the house was empty. I never felt so bad in my life. What could that $20 have done for that person kept pounding in my mind. I felt like a failure; I had failed on a simple assignment given to me by the Lord. From that day to the present, if the Lord instructs me to give, I don't hesitate at all. Since that time, I have given away jewelry, money, clothes right off my back, vehicle, etc. Simply because I found out that it is more important to be obedient to God than to worry about the sacrifices we have to make in honoring him.

What is the Lord telling you to give today? When are you planning to honor his request made to you? Remember Jonah, God told him to "arise, go to Nineveh," Jonah 1:1. Jonah refused to even go in the direction God wanted him go; instead he got on a ship heading in another direction. His acts of disobedience caused him to be tossed overboard from the very ship he mounted to flee from his assignment. God simply wanted him to give a message to the nation of Nineveh. Jonah allowed his fears to deter him. Please do not allow your fears to control your success.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7

The son that was given was not just any son. The son that was given was God's only son. God gave us his very best. What can and will you give today in his honor? A broken soul is waiting on your gift.

In God We Trust.

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.