My Grown-Up Christmas List By Dr. Gary Hoag
What is on your grown-up Christmas list this year?
One of my favorite contemporary Christmas songs is “My Grown-up Christmas List” made famous by Amy Grant. Hopefully it is familiar to you. Two sections of the lyrics always grip me: the chorus and the climax.
Consider the Chorus
She leads into it with this statement: “So here’s my lifelong wish, my grown-up Christmas list, not for myself, but for a world in need.” And then she goes through this list of six short statements.
“No more lives torn apart. That wars would never start. And time would heal all hearts. Everyone would have a friend. And right would always win. And love would never end. This is my grown-up Christmas list”
What would your grown-up Christmas list include? As a biblical scholar, author, and professor who has dedicated his life to encouraging Christian generosity, here’s what I’d sing. Though I am no lyricist, here are my six short statements. Likewise, they are not for myself, but for a world in need.
“Churches spending money on the poor. Teaching sacrificial giving. And modeling obedience and faithfulness. Christians storing up treasures in heaven. Measuring giving in proportionately. And being known for their love. This is my grown-up Christmas list.”
Why these statements?
Many churches today appear disconnected from the teachings of Jesus and they look little like the early church in the New Testament. Look at what they are doing with God’s money. Most churches today spend huge sums on property and little, if anything, on the poor. Most pastors encourage people to give a slice to God, when Jesus wants everything we have and only celebrated sacrificial giving. Admittedly, many church workers say they feel ill-equipped to model obedience and faithfulness because they know little about money.
So, what do we see in the pews? Most Christians rationalize disobedience and store up treasures on earth instead of in heaven for eternity. They measure giving by a percentage rather than share as God supplies proportionately. And rather than being known by our love, well, Christians have received a horrible label: haters. We’ve got some serious problems, and I think the climax of the song offers the solution.
Comply with the Climax
She concludes the song with this powerful statement that leaves listeners thinking: “Could it really be that simple?”
“What is this illusion called “The innocence of youth” Maybe only in our blind belief, can we ever find the truth.”
There’s the answer. We must follow Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, with blind belief. Sadly, however, most people treat Jesus as if He is stupid. I did for 40 years, despite his clear commands. I did what everyone else was doing at church. I cared about myself rather than the poor, gave God only a slice and about a decade ago, I came to grips with the fact that partial obedience is disobedience. I found that blind belief pointed the way to life.
So what is blind belief?
It’s following Jesus with the faith of a child. I have learned that the older you get, you try to figure Jesus out, but his commands especially with regard to money, make no sense in the scarcity economy of this world. Only when you follow with blind belief do you figure out that Jesus is not trying to make you destitute but teach you to distribute. In following with blind belief I have found what Jesus promised: abundant life.
Think about it. The last time you loved someone deeply, did you run out of love? When you forgave someone, did you run out of forgiveness. When we give, we don’t end up empty but rather enriched for greater generosity.
But the paradox is that we only discover it by doing it. What will you do? My wish and prayer for you if you are reading this is that you will find the truth and experience abundant life by choosing the path of blind belief in Jesus.
Gary G. Hoag, Ph.D., known widely as “the Generosity Monk” as he has dedicated his life to encouraging Christian generosity. Subscribe to his Daily Meditations at www.generositymonk.com. Want a free copy of his recent book, Purposeful Living: Financial Wisdom for All of Life, compiled and edited with Tim Macready. Click on the title to download the eBook shared freely by Christian Super. Happy Christmas everyone!
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