(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)
Joy in Giving….Joy Through Serving…
By Andrea Yim
You have heard it before, “It is better to give than it is to receive.” Deep down inside all of us, though, we love to receive. It brings a smile to our face; it gives us “Joy.” But what is real Joy? What does the Bible have to say about joy, verses what the world says? Joy is not happiness, although we can be joyful and happy at the same time.
One of the definitions of “joy,” when used as a verb, is “to rejoice.” I can truly say that I have pure joy when I am able to give. Whether it is a gift, a meal, or money to the church, there is a sense of pure Joy and fulfillment when the heart can do that. Serving and giving are just two examples of what Joy really is. Serving Jesus isn’t just about your actions. It can be the simple act of obedience of opening His word and giving Him true worship. We don’t do this with the attitude of expecting Him to bless us, BUT instead we bless Him by spending time with Him.
Serving others is what God has called us to do. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (NLT). There are so many ways to serve, especially now for Christmas. There is cooking for those in need, buying gifts for those in need (if you’re able), or the giving of your time. What I like to do is take my boys to the dollar store and make Christmas boxes for an organization called Operation Christmas Child for children who don’t get any gifts for Christmas. There is no greater joy I have than for my kids to have a heart of giving. Not only does it bless others, but it blesses the Lord. Joy also comes from knowing that a loving God has saved us. Salvation gives us Hope (a stark contrast to this dark age we live in) which supernaturally gives us Joy. In Nehemiah 8:10, the Bible says, “the Joy of the Lord is your strength”(NLT). There is strength in Joy because it is given from God. Many times, especially in this day and age that we live in, we can be robbed of our Joy in serving and giving because of fear or anxiety. However, in James 1:2, God says, “Consider it pure Joy when you fall into trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (NLT). Even in the hard times, when we find a way to serve the Lord or others, we can be happy in our trials.
Whatever your situation is – wherever you are in life – everyone and anyone can serve in multiple ways. Here are just a few ideas this holiday season for experiencing Joy through serving Jesus, others, and yourself:
- Go to a homeless shelter and serve a meal.
- Find a family in need of either food or gifts, and give if you are able to.
- Visit the elderly and spend time with them. It will bring a smile to their faces.
- Take your kids to make Christmas boxes for one of their friends.
- Find out how you can serve at your church.
These are just a few ideas. There is always much more that you can do. And ENJOY doing it while you do it!