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Summary: At Christmas time we give and receive many gifts and many reactions happen, here is how to keep the focus on Jesus despite all the talk.

Gifts, Reactions and Jesus’ Example11-25-18 Kelly Durant

Prov 11:24

24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.

2. All across the United States the Salvation Army makes the news for giving away toys! I looked at the stats for last year online and 3.2 million people got toys and food from us through the Angel Tree!

But do the news channels report this amazing feat year after year? Rarely! The world has become more and more unthankful and indifferent towards Christians and their loving generosity. But still we are a light shining in the gross darkness of the world! In the small towns of the U.S.A. you will find the Salvation Army more on the headlines because small town people are usually more connected, appreciative, and Christian.

As many know, there is actually a big cultural divide between the conservative Christian mentality in rural America and the liberal debauched mentality in the big cities, and the conservatives, I can testify, do show more thankfulness for gifts. But still we serve, give, and love all no matter how folks react!

3. Let’s explore today the feeding of the 5,000. Open your Bibles to.. Matt 15:34-38

34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

When it comes to God’s work, there are many times in which we see miracles to make the supplies be enough for everyone. Last year that happened here and there was enough for everyone! We got 400 turkeys and we need another 400 again!

The gifts Jesus gave to people were food, healings for the sick, the liberation from demons, and ultimately He gave himself as the ultimate sacrifice to take away the sins of you and me.

4. Of the multitudes served, I know hundreds of children and parents are made happy! Our shining example to the world causes thankful people to notice and think, If there are people in my neighborhood that can care enough about my happiness to organize the obtaining of thousands of toys and food boxes to share with my family, then there is a possibility that there is a God up in heaven somewhere that can love me and care about me! He has no hands and feed but ours!

But always after these events of giving and receiving there are many reactions by the people. I want to refresh your mind on the story of the donkey, the man, and the boy. When you or I get anything, paid for or a gift, people will talk, good or bad!

5. Once upon a time there was a small village in Mexico and the father had saved his money from the harvest to buy a donkey to work on his farm. He went into the big city and paid for his donkey, you know he asks, how much, and the seller says $100 and the man says, no, too much, I will offer $50, but the man ends up paying $75. Then the man tries out the strength of the donkey and rides it with his young son, then one person in the street says, hey, look at the cruel old man, he makes his donkey’s back hurt! So the son walks while he rides! They get criticism for that as him being a mean man to make the boy walk. So…

they change places, the man walks and the son rides. Then further down the road, a schoolteacher in the street walking by says, what a bad child, he rides and makes his old father walk! So they both get off and they both walk but further down the road, some men see them and laugh and say, look at those two, they have a donkey, and they both are walking! The father then couldn’t take any more. He got a long wooden branch and tied the donkey’s feet to it and the father and the son carried the donkey out of the town making sure the people had something to talk about then! People always talk trash!

6. Now, in reference to giving, the giving of toys or anything, there are some that will take the gift and be happy and that is what we would like to see, but there are others that will not.

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