We've all heard the saying "cold hands, warm heart." I certainly hope that's true. My hands are perpetually cold, and now that the temperatures outside have taken quite a tumble from a week ago, I'm beginning to feel increasingly like Bob Cratchit as I hunch over my keyboard with frozen fingers. (This is why I put a space heater in my office during the winter months.) I daresay many of us now have cold hands, and as October gives way to November, I expect they'll get colder still.
But as the temperature outside falls, the temperature of our hearts rises. We're in the time of year we see the goodness of humanity. We're about to give away candy to around 5-6,000 people. Next month will be our Thanksgiving food box drive. Next is Christmas, when everyone enjoys good tidings of comfort and joy. Generosity is on full display when it gets cold outside, so it's pretty safe to say that when your hands get cold, your heart really does grow warmer.
While I encourage us to give to things like our shoeboxes and food drive, I also want to give us a word of caution. It's easy at this time of year to begin boasting about all the good things you're doing for other people. "I bought this for so-and-so," "I donated to this cause," "I served meals at the soup kitchen," etc. all begin to get a little more air time, so to speak, during the winter months. Let's bear in mind the words of Christ in Matthew 6:2-4:
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
We serve a living, loving God who will reward us at the end of the age with eternal life if we believe and let that faith bear fruit. Even as our hearts warm with chances to serve, resist the temptation of chilling your soul with pride and boasting. After all, love doesn't do things for the reward; it does things because of the inherent value of the human soul, made in the image of God.