Summary: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” - Albert Einstein God gives for the sake of giving. Giving, itself, is a virtue. It needs no other motive.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” - Albert Einstein
Of all the amazing things that Jesus said and did to teach us Truth, to show us God, one of his greatest lessons was in simply being born. Of course the birth is put into perspective by his death and resurrection, but still, what a revelation!
• How well would we understand love without the coming of God’s Son?
• What would humility be without the Incarnation?
• Could we possibly imagine that the glory of God could glorify God by becoming nothing?
• Would we know how to glorify God ourselves without this demonstration?
• Would we understand justice if Jesus hadn’t come? Would we be able to account for mercy?
• Would the concept of grace even exist?
• And what about suffering?
• Would anyone have imagined that the son of God and his earthly parents would go through so much turmoil? The rumours of adultery. The long journey in the last days of pregnancy. The birth without midwife or doctor...or even a clean environment. The exile to Egypt. The blood of infants spilled on their behalf.
• And, while we know we need to pursue God, would we see God as one who pursues us without Christmas?
II. God’s motives
I want to share one last thing that I’ve learned from Christmas.
The best way to understand the truths of existence is to understand God. All truth is based on Him. One way to study God is to study that which motivates Him. When God does something, wonder, “why?” You will usually find some incredible truth at the end of that thought process.
Think for a moment, why would God make humans? Often the answer is that God wanted a creature to love and be loved by. Perhaps there is a degree of truth in that. But we must be careful or else we might think that God needs us. As if he not satisfied before? Does he need us? He’s hardly God if he does. In fact, it would kind of make us God if he does. Truth is, God doesn’t need anything. So then why DO anything?
God does what he does because of his character. Actually, we do a surprising amount of what we do because of our character. But God does everything for that reason. And since God’s character is perfect, everything he does is pure virtue.
Last week we looked at how Christmas teaches us about the virtue of goodness. God sent Jesus because he is good. That is his character. That is his motive. It is our purpose to be good.
In Bible Study we have been talking about how Christmas teaches us about the virtue of humility. Jesus came because he is humble. Humility is his character. Humility is his motive. It is our purpose to be humble.
III. The pure gift of Jesus.
Today we see that it is God’s character to give. Notice that Christmas doesn’t centre on the BIRTH of a child, but the GIVING of a child. It was no miracle for Jesus to be born. I was born, you were born. What makes Christmas such an amazing story is that Jesus wasn’t born, but given. It is no small thing to hand your son over from a perfect home to a dysfunctional world. So why do it? Because we needed him to. God gains nothing from this action. There is nothing that God can gain. He already has it all. It is not his character to gain, but to give. In fact, in Christmas we find the answer to our first question, “why make humans?” While there are several reasons, one is that God is love and love must be given. He made us to share himself with us. He did it for us. Pure, unadulterated giving.
“For God so loved the world that he GAVE his one and only Son...
He gave us life. He gave us love. He gave us purpose. He gave us choice. He gave us law. He gave us Jesus. He gave us a second chance. He gave us his Spirit. He gives and he gives and he gives.
IV. Let us give.
Giving is a virtue. We are made for virtue. The self-indulgent life that we are so used to living is beneath us. We are made for high things, grand things, meaningful things. And, “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” We know this is true because of Christmas. Jesus lives for others. He was sent for others. Here’s the Christmas lesson: giving has value in itself. There doesn’t need to be a reason to give; giving IS the reason.