Hang an Extra Stocking

Pondering the Season of Giving

Hang an Extra Stocking

lightstock_126631_medium_josh_I rummage through the bins at REI’s quarterly garage sale, mulling over “gently used” sleeping bags, snowshoes that once served as rentals and someone’s returned ski gloves. I convince myself that this circus atmosphere is justifiable because these are deals. But let’s be honest: it’s December and I’m spending money on myself. I also convince myself that these are needs necessary for survival in Colorado, though I’m quite certain that lots of people lead healthy and productive lives without ever donning a pair of snowshoes.

It’s far too easy for me to rationalize these retail excursions and the money I spend on myself. Do I give as much thought to the money I spend on others? Hardly.

I find few places in Scripture where God doesn’t want his children to enjoy the things afforded to them. But I find plenty of examples where the pursuit of those blessings is detrimental, where the motive behind materialism is on full display, where my selfishness is mirrored for me and where blessings are meant to be shared, not stifled.

Sometimes I need to get my head out of the rummage bin and remember that my socioeconomic stability and access to Scripture and my community of believers are all gifts from God. Gifts that aren’t available to everyone. Gifts that I can easily and directly share with someone else.

ExtraStocking-SquareThat’s why I’m excited about this year’s Extra Stocking Offering.

I love that Storyline Fellowship is looking outside of our walls (or, more accurately, our curtains) to share a little bit of Jesus. I love that our Storyland students will be assembling weekend snack bags for hungry students in town who sit at empty tables. I love that we are helping church planters get started across the country, like other churches have helped us in this first year of ministry. I love that my meager offering will support missionaries who are shining the light of Christ in some of the world’s darkest places.

And I love the shared sacrifice behind the Extra Stocking Offering, so everyone at Storyline Fellowship can participate: hang an extra stocking and prayerfully considering giving one day’s wages as a Christmas offering. That amount may look different for you than it does for me. But the sacrifice likely won’t.

As Ben shared recently, God has blessed Storyline Fellowship. Now it’s our turn.

While you stand in line at Target, fill up your Amazon shopping cart, or, in my case, justify a bag full of items at REI, don’t forget about the extra stocking this year. There’s nothing wrong with spreading toys under the tree, buying that great gift for your spouse, or taking the family out for a night on the town. But there’s plenty wrong with not paying it forward.

I’m hanging an extra stocking this year. Will you join me?

(For full disclosure: I bought the snowshoes.)