Holiday Challenge

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)

Growing up with an older brother and younger sister I heard quite a bit about sharing and how I should do it. I learned that I needed to share but quite honestly I didn’t care much to do it. Things were “mine” and I wanted to keep them that way. (Though, I literally did nothing to earn these gifts except by being a part of the family or doing a few measly chores). Looking back it seems pretty ridiculous to think about the major fights that took place among us.  However, looking to today it can be convicting because that same inner child who fought for his own still cries, “Mine!” 

When I read this verse I can’t help but think, “Amen to sharing being a sacrifice!” It’s so easy to default to our flesh and store up treasures here on earth. Did you see the stores rolling out their holiday gear the last few months? Why wait when we can have it now?! Our culture feeds off consumerism. Our natural desire is to load up, close the garage, and enjoy ourselves. However, Jesus calls us to more than ourselves. Belonging to His Kingdom provokes us to think outside our little kingdoms to bless and engage those beyond our wooden fences. Sharing is sacrifice, but it is good and pleasing in sight of our Father. 

In light of this, I want to challenge families to think about ways they could bless their neighbors. I wonder how we could include our children and families in reflecting the Kingdom to our neighbors. What would it look like to cook up your best dish and deliver it as a family to one of your neighbors? Or that we would ask them, “What would bless you this holiday season?” Or simply bake up some cookies, include a note of thanks, and have it delivered by your family to those on your street? What if we invited our kids into the discussion and prayed as a family that God would give direction and use our efforts for others to encounter Jesus? 

This will be a new adventure for my wife and I as we ourselves accept this challenge but I believe it will be worth the temporary awkwardness of going door to door by keeping the gospel mission in mind. I believe the kingdom can smell and look like baked goodness extended to those who least expect it. It is in these small sacrifices we gain inroads into people’s lives to point them to the greater sacrifice of Jesus. Let us not miss the moments of this holiday season to expose our families and our neighbors to this better and bigger Kingdom we are created for.  

Aaron Cotton, Family Discipleship Leader