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There are so many out there who are hurting financially. Also, there are many with kind hearts and abundant generosity who desire to help. Our heavenly Father has taught us that it is better to give than to receive; His blessings are on His people who give cheerfully to Him and to others.

Because my family has, at times, known immense financial struggles, I have been on both the giving end and the receiving end; have experienced both the doing and the being done for. Interspersed were many times in which I knew the joy of being the giver. I love the rushing joy that comes with being the giver; the knowledge that you are a small part of blessing someone’s life. I have appreciated the love that prompted the giving to me and to my family in deep times of need; the kindness that put food on the table, clothes on our backs and, at times, provided Christmas gifts for my family.

Not everyone is graced by God with being on both sides of the giving experience. If you haven’t been a giver, I would tell you to try it and experience the joy and the blessing that comes with it. If you haven’t been the give-ee, I would offer you a word of advice:

Not everyone who is in need is in need because of foolishness; some are but not all. Not everyone suffering want can do anything about it. For some, it has been brought on by an economic downturn; many are unfortunately experiencing that this year. For some, their financial problems are the result of a family member’s illness that drove them to, and then beyond, what they could afford to pay. For others, especially women and children, the fault lies with a foolish husband or father who failed to plan, failed to act or who simply walked out. There are reasons that only the good Lord knows that led someone down the pathway no one wants to travel. No matter what the cause of the need, the need remains the same. Need is cold and harsh and cruel. Need knows no racial boundaries, makes no distinction between country or city folks. It can strike anyone at anytime. Please keep these things in mind as you give to others this Christmas season.

Also, please remember the give-ee’s feelings. It is downright embarrassing to be in need and many, I daresay most, who are will not make their need obvious to others. It is here that we must carefully examine circumstances, listen, look and, most importantly, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When you are prompted by Him to give, please do so without rubbing the give-ee’s face in it (as it were). I have experienced the kindness of being given to by those who let me know the blessedness that they felt, the love of God that prompted them and the accepting was sweet and without embarrassment (and, I pray, that is the kind of giver I have been). I have also known giving that comes from the hands of those who have no knowledge of how to give and was left feeling humiliated and small.

If you are blessed with the opportunity to give, do so for the glory of God alone. If you are blessed by God to know need, please know that the need comes by His providence for your good; let your dependence be on Him alone. Trust in Him always and do good when and where you can; at all times accept all blessings as if they flow from His hand alone (for they surely do) and do so with thanksgiving and praise.