With Christmas upon us in just a few short days, I’m trying to slow down a bit and let the busyness of the holiday rush slough off and instead let the real “reason for the season” sink in. In conjunction with celebrating the birth of Jesus, it is also a season of giving. It’s a time of year where we delight in blessing those near and dear to us with tokens of our love and appreciation. That being said, it’s easy to get sucked into the buying aspect and lose sight of the giving. As consumers, we are bombarded with an urgency to get the “right gift”. The latest, coolest toy for your kid, or the gift that will knock your spouse’s socks off (and potentially keep you out of the dog house!). Regardless of our excitement to give an amazing gift, it’s easy to forget the joy of just blessing someone. And the thing is – it’s a practice that should be kept all year long.
I’ve been meditating lately on how I can maintain an attitude of blessing others well after the last present has been opened, and it reminded me of one of my favorite movies. I have always been a movie lover. I really like being swept away by meaningful scripts. One of my all time favorites is “Pay It Forward”. A teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to come up with an idea to transform society. The different students come up with an array of ideas – everything from inventions to acts of kindness. The main character, a young boy, comes up with the idea of impacting 3 people’s lives and they, in turn, must each help 3 more.
What a Christ-like example of something that can impact lives! I want you to challenge yourself to help three individuals. Don’t just loan money or give simple counsel, but rather, really impact their life in a positive, meaningful way – a way that will bless them long term. Then – charge them each to impact 3 lives more in a way that theirs has been blessed. The number squares and the blessings are tripled each time.
The key to this (and the most difficult for our flesh) is that it should be secret and never divulged what was done. In Matthew, Jesus spoke, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 (NASB)
Being the prideful man that I am, I have a tendency to want to tell people I’ve prayed for them. It’s always genuine, but deep down I want them to recognize that I am different and better. That isn’t terrible, but it’s prideful. By keeping it anonymous, both the parties are blessed by God – the doer of the deed, by spreading God’s love so only God will see, and the recipient by receiving God’s care through you! As a child, I loved to make my father proud of me. I would do whatever it took to get a smile or a pat on the back. I never felt the need to broadcast to everyone that what I was doing was to please him. It’s the same with God.
I want to be this type of Christian. I am going to challenge myself to live this life of servant leadership as one of His quiet assassins in servanthood. One never knows the ripple effect that one good deed can have on another’s life and another and another….
What a wonderful thought that I could be as Christ and help purely for the sake of benefitting others – and my only reward is in HIM!
– Jim Lodato