|Every man according as he purposeth in is heart,|
so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity;
for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
The truth is for many, if not most, of us, we want to hold on to what we have. Can I just share what came into my mind as I meditated on some scripture this morning? We plan on what we're going to give, and it's not all just about money.
It Starts In Our Hearts
Depending on the situation we find ourselves, we are always in the debate of, "What do I give?" There will always be a need before us. How we handle it, depends on what you've purposed in your heart to do. You many find yourself listening to a friend's hurtful situation. What can you give?You may be struggling to make ends meet and suddenly someone has an emergency that tugs at your savings? "Lord, but how?" you ask. "What should I do?"
You will find yourself facing a family member that has hurt you? What will they need from you? You will be confronted at work with a hostile client or misunderstanding boss? What do you have to give them? OK. If we're related, the idea of giving them a big smack upside their head didn't pass you by. But, jokes aside, we are always giving something away. And, we prepare what we give in our hearts. Yes, it starts in our hearts.
We make the decision of how we will give to others according to how we plan and think in our hearts. I look back and remember a childhood filled with seeing people coming to my home and somehow my mom could always feed everyone and take from what we had, (which wasn't much) and give to others with such grace and joy! The thing is many times we give with the wrong attitude, grudgingly and complaining. "Oh, I'll forgive him but he better not do it again, because next time, Oh, and there better not be a next time!" Sounds familiar? What about, "Lord, I want to help this person and you're showing me they need love, but oh God, how can I hug this person that smells so wicked?" Again, it begins in our hearts.
Investing In Others
Can we jump back a verse? Look at verse 6. "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." Imagine we could see this giving part as not just a sacrificial giving of our tithes and offerings, but as my brother, Tito, says, wrap ourselves in God's love and give ourselves away?
If you're going to give someone a blessing, do it not only without telling the whole world about it, but do it with a happy attitude. Do it with love and kindness. God loves a cheerful giver. Why? Because if we give "sow" negatively, being cheap, or with the wrong attitude, isn't that how it's all going to back to us. Am I'm not talking about Karma here, really.
If I give with all my heart, loving without measure, forgiving, hugging with God's arms and strength in me, and just meeting the needs of others, God is going to bless me as well. But, if I hold back, just like we do with our money, if I hold back forgiveness, being polite, loving the difficult people in my life, and giving of myself half way, how can I expect anything less coming back to my life?
It's Not Always Easy
Well, you say like I've said many times, "It's hard." And, yes, sometimes giving of ourselves, when we've been used, mistreated, wrongly accused and rejected makes us hold back and stay in hiding. Yet, if you grab hold of verse 8, there's a promise to help you give without hesitation. "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things may about to every good work."
In yesterday's preaching, Pastor Wilson shared on the blessings of using our finances to bless and help the church. It's a hard topic to talk on but he did it with grace. One thing that stood out at me was this. Times of need, drought and lack may come, (and they do) but when we have invested in God's kingdom, God supplies for us in the midst of our needs. When others are desperately looking for resources, God is providing for His children. And, not just financially. When we ourselves enter a difficult emotional time, God will also provide us with help because we have, (with the right heart) sowed into the lives of others.
You see? He's going to supply for your needs as you find yourself in a place where you're going to have to give from your heart what may seem so hard. His grace in you. All grace in you. His love, his strength, His purpose, in you. He will make sure you and I are supplied sufficiently for the time of giving. So, are you ready to give?
A Small Prayer
Lord, I'm not saying it's going to be easy, this giving deal, but you have promised to bless what I do and to supply me with the grace to do it. Fill my heart with your grace and love so that I don't hold back from giving what you place in my life to give. Prepare my heart to be sensitive to others even when what I really want to do is, well, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to knock some people out at times. So, help me give even when it's hard. Let your grace abound in me. Help me to be a cheerful giver, not a complainer or someone that is resentful and has a grudge. Help me to be loving, kind and helpful, not only to strangers, but especially to my own, my family, my friends and coworkers. I ask you this in Jesus name, Amen.