Let’s use the opportunity of #GivingTuesday to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive – be it today or at any other time of the year.
I remember one young man who never told me his name or address. He gave me his Olympic Volunteer jacket when he found out I was a foreign visitor.
One of my happiest memories is of the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. We were taking part in a world congress of Christian sportspeople organised by the International Sports Coalition, and were invited to spend a few days in that marvellous city.
I remember so many things about those days: the thousands of athletes, the sporting events, the wonderful organisation; but above all I remember the kindness of the Korean people, the friendliest people I have ever met.
I remember one young man who never told me his name or address. He simply gave me his Olympic Volunteer jacket when he found out I was a foreign visitor. He was a member of the team who helped the journalists, and personified the kindness of that great nation.
Every man is a friend to the one who gives gifts, as the Bible says. We often forget this, because we haven't learned that it is a privilege to give. God shows us his love by giving us many things: life, nature, friends, family, health, work...and as if that weren't enough, God also gave us the most precious thing he had: his own Son.
We must never forget that "God so loved the world that he gave..." (John 3:16). The only way to demonstrate love is by giving.
I don't think I will ever forget that friend, whom I knew for just that one morning. In the same way, God tells us in the Bible that he will NEVER forget what we give to others. Not even a drink of water given to another goes unrewarded; God is pleased when his children are generous.
We are most like God when we give. Our character is most like his when we give of ourselves to others: our time, effort, money, possessions... In the Bible, God often speaks of the duty of giving him back a good portion of what he has given us. It is a duty and a privilege that we must never forget.
There are many needy people in the world, and many of them are near you. Do they know God through what you have done for them?