I love Scrooge!
Every year at the Christmas season I watch at least one version of Ebenezer Scrooge’s story, A Christmas Carol. Apparently I am not the only one. Since 1908 his character has been portrayed in the movies 61 times. Why do I love Scrooge? How could I love him when he has become a symbol of greed – the opposite of how we view Christmas? Scrooge begins as a person who is measuring out his wealth. Crouched over his desk he scrutinizes the numbers on his accounts, keeping watch over every penny. He is the extreme version of stinginess. His vision for his life is accumulation. Even in all the blessings of his wealth, he still has a mentality of scarcity. His own cousin Fred (I love that guy) observes Scrooge’s misery. His wife comments that he has so much money but never enjoys it.
Why do I like Scrooge? Because he thinks like me, like you. I think, “I have only so much to give away, I need to be careful. I better measure what I give away. I have only so much money, energy and time.” And this is true. But then I think about all that God has done for me, all I am grateful for, and realize God does not think this way. Why? Well, he’s God and can do whatever he wants. He never runs out of anything. But he also offers to us immeasurable grace. He gave something that really cost him. He gave himself- Jesus as a gift. Jesus gives up his life for mine. The Apostle Paul says, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) See how much he has blessed you already. You and I already have what we need; we just need to receive it.
Why do I love Scrooge? Because his life is an example of grace. Scrooge never gave. He spent only to keep himself alive. He had a scarcity mentality. But then he was given grace. He was given the grace to see his life in a whole new way: that his life could be a gift to others. Jesus is saying, “Do you want to live for me? Be like me? Give yourself away to others, without measuring.”
So to the degree I give my life to others, it the degree I will receive back again? Exactly.
I would suggest Jesus is not only talking about money, it is how I give my life to others in any form. During this season, who is it that needs forgiveness, encouragement or gifts of time, money or help? Give it. Give it without measuring how it will be paid back to you. This is not giving to receive, this is giving because that is the kind of person you want to be.
A generous person gives grace to those who don’t earn it, don’t deserve it and without measuring whether they will return the favor. How we give out, is how we receive. How we “measure” our giving is how it will be “measured back to you”. How about believing with me to give beyond what is measured. To see God work beyond what you can see? To go out of your way to express your love for God and others. Then see what God will do.