Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Give and Give Again

I think God is trying to get a certain message across to me. Ever had that happen? When you keep hearing the same thing over and over again from different sources...

God is speaking to my heart about giving. Giving to those who ask. Giving without caveats. Giving and giving again. Giving like what I have doesn't belong to me, but to God.

The Bible always speaks highly of giving. Well, unless you are giving with ulterior motives. Then it is frowned upon.

But no caveat, generous and sacrificial giving? It is commended over and over again. Not only is it commended, but it is rewarded. Those who give receive. That is an unchanging principle in the Bible.

Generosity is not a specified fruit of the Spirit, but it is certainly an attribute of God. God is the ultimate and perfect example of giving. He sacrificially gave His only Son for the salvation of the World. He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift. He gives to those who ask, abundantly over and above what they asked.

We give of our money and resources. We give of our time. We give of our skills. We give tangible and measurable things-like 2 tomatoes. And we give immeasurable things like a skill or passing on knowledge. Sometimes the easy gift is the monetary gift. Sometimes the more costly gift is the gift of time or skills. Sometimes we have no money to give. But there is always something we can give.

Giving doesn't come naturally to us humans. We are born rather tight fisted. Selfishness is one of the first ugly characteristics to rear its head in children. We hold on to what we have tightly. We don't want to share. We don't want to do without.

We need to believe what the Bible says about giving, and act like we believe it by practicing giving. We must cultivate the attitude of a generous spirit and the actions of a giver. We must teach by example and by words. We must teach the cost and the rewards of giving. For giving does cost us something and it does bring rewards.

Giving naturally produces joy and even a euphoric feeling. Generous people are almost always happy and satisfied while stingy and selfish people tend to be unhappy people. 

We don't give in order to receive, but we do receive. As we invest in others, whether monetarily, and tangibly, with knowledge or whatever, we are investing in that person's (organization's) future and future work for God. Each time we give, it has eternal ramifications. Our gift actually gives and gives again. In financial jargon you'd call giving a good investment that continues to bear dividends.

There is that scatters and yet increases. There is that withholds more than is fitting, but it tends to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:24-25)

Give and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give in to your bosom. (Luke 6:38)

He who sows sparingly shall reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully. Every man as he purposes in his heart, let him give. Not grudgingly or of necessity. God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9: 6,7)

We need to give purposefully. 
We need to give first, not the leftovers.
We need to give regularly and according to a plan. Give to certain people every month.
We need to give spontaneously when needs arise that we can meet.
We need to give to those who ask. Without thought of being taken advantage of.
We need to give generously and cheerfully, not putting caveats on the use of our gifts.
We need to give willingly-not make God pry our gifts from our tightly grasped hands.
We need to give prayerfully. "How/to whom do you want me to give, God?"
We need to give sacrificially-so it costs us. Give up going out for dinner one evening a month in order to sponsor a Compassion child. Give up an hour of free time in order to teach a Sunday School class. Give up that baby stuff in your basement in order to bless a mother in need.
We need to give without expectations. 
We need to give like our resources belong to God and not us.

So what are the "rewards" we, the Barefoot Hippies, have found in giving?
-We have always had money to pay our bills-on time.
-We have always had money to give to those we have purposed in our hearts to give to.
-We have experienced the joy of being invested in other's lives and ministries.
-We have been able to save money.
-We have found God absolutely faithful to His Word and promises.

Is God speaking to your heart about giving to someone or something? How can you give like God gives? How have you planned to give regularly? How often do you give spontaneously?