Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
My office looks like a wrapping paper factory exploded. As I have begun to wrap gifts and separate them according to each person and their destination, I am beginning to feel like Mrs. Claus right about now. Looking at each pile wondering if I got it right, will they be happy and satisfied. I love giving gifts to my children. Oh, don’t get me wrong I love giving to others as well. But when it comes to my children, I want them to have more than what they need but all of what they want. It’s crazy that we have content children. Their lists were modest this year in fact very few items were not things that I would not provide on a girls shopping trip. Yet, I love to see their faces when they open that one thing they really, really wanted. Like most moms, giving is a gift.
Giving is a gift. It is a quality of God in us that desires to do for other people. Sadly the enemy has made it quite stressful as we cram our doing into a few short weeks each year and pay for it every other day. This is not what the gift of giving is all about. This is not a rant about spending too much, overdoing, too much busyness or any of the other usual holiday stressors. We get enough help in that area. It is about giving. The gift of giving that gets lost in worry and fear. I don’t think it is always an act of selfishness but the enemy’s attack on our confidence in our Father’s Goodness, Love and Provision. If he can somehow convince us that we are required to meet the expectations of those we love and depend on to love us while continually raising the bar, it robs us of the joy in giving due to fear of lack. I break that over your life today in the Name of Jesus. Every good gift and perfect gift comes from the Father’s Love. He is a Good God who loves to lavish blessings on His Children. His Blessing comes without sorrow added to it.
Give and it will be given to you. I would like to reveal that biggest farce spoken from many pulpits today. Giving financially will not necessarily cause you to be increased financially. God doesn’t give like for like (thank you Jesus) because I do not want what I deserve – I am satisfied and overwhelmed by grace. Giving is an overflow of love when our heart cannot contain it and must express it. When we give from our heart and release it through our hands, we are pressed down, shaken together and now run over in joy without the sorrow of regret or fear of missing out. Giving is an act of selflessness when we choose to release what we have by faith in our Provider who indeed gives seed to the sower.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NIV)
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations. They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
Giving is a quality of the church that is lost. Tithing is not Old Testament but a mandate for today. Giving to the Lord of our firstfruits is covenant. Grace is afforded those who choose not to but it is still disobedience. To give but not tithe limits the increase of godly satisfaction because it is out of order. Wow, wasn’t expecting that to come out. Must be the Holy Spirit. The Macedonian churches in the midst of severe trial and extreme poverty were givers. The joy overflowing in their hearts at the Knowledge and Acceptance of Jesus Christ could not be contained or limited by their current resources. They just chose to give anyway. They “urgently pleaded” for the “privilege of sharing”. It exceeded all expectation. They gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability. Giving themselves first to the Lord, and then by the Will of God to us also. Your gift of love and generosity to the world and its people doesn’t mean a whole lot until it comes with the message of God’s Love and His Son, Jesus. We must be in fellowship for this overflowing joy to come out of us and allow us to give beyond our means and personal resources.
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (NIV)
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
I shudder to add such a long scripture as people often scold me concerning the length of these blogs. I couldn’t help myself so bear with me, please. Generosity and giving must be an action of the heart. True generosity gives beyond our surplus. When we are willing to lay down our life, our comfort, our security, our treasure for another person, God honors the sacrifice because He absolutely identifies with the person who gives like as such. God gave His All for us. It hurt God to see this world reject His Son, torture Him, and kill Him. But He allowed it for us. He loved us so much that God gave until it hurt not to mention Jesus who gave His Life for us.
Whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but oh the generous ones. We decide what to give in our heart but truthfully the Holy Spirit often nudges us first. Most people than toss it around in our mind, weighing the price, considering the cost, and then do what they think they can rather than what God tells them to do. God loves a cheerful giver. One who loves Him so much and trusts Him enough to give when the urgency hits and allows the Lord to provide seed for sowing. Those who sow in the Spirit and out of their hands will be enriched in every way. I know what it is like to live in lack. I understand poverty and sleeping on the floor of a house without power. I also know the luxury of a very nice house with all the featured comforts. The one thing that I know more than anything else is that no matter where I end up at the end of the day without Jesus there is no peace. There is no joy. There is no comfort. I cannot make my life better in any way outside of my relationship with Jesus. The more I love Him, the more I want to give. Giving to others gives me joy and peace as I am about my Father’s business. But giving to my husband, our children, family, friends and my church will never be enough to satisfy the longing of my soul. Faith produces a willing and giving heart that just wants to give more. Do you want to give? Do you feel limited today? You’re not. I rebuke the lie of the enemy off your life and ask Him to break the heavy chains of fear off of your heart so you can give. Something. Anything. It begins the process of shaking down, pressing together and running over. Faith is not a one and done process. It is a life-long endeavor of learning to love and trust Him more. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get up and take one step.
It is crazy that when I decide to do something in my heart with regards to giving. There is always enough. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Working in a church office, a woman came on a weekday to speak to the pastor. He was out of the office that day so she decided to share her plight with me. She wanted to tithe. Her husband who was a nonbeliever forbid her to give anything but a small offering. It was not enough for her. Serving in the church nursery was unsatisfactory. She needed to give more. So she pulled a roll of paper towels out of her tote bag and some glass cleaner, she then asked me if it would be alright if she came each week to clean all the windows of the church. What? I was speechless. I could only stammer enough to say, “Of course, you can.” When she left my office, I began to cry as suddenly all those I was “giving” to God from my surplus seemed small and insignificant.
Giving is an indescribable gift. To become a true giver who taps into the Gift God has hidden in giving requires a sacrifice. You don’t necessarily give until it hurts, you give all that you can. No excuses. When the Lord impresses you to do it, you do. Let’s face it, that’s usually our biggest hold up. We can all give more than we do, but choose not to saying, “I just don’t have it to give.” Is that the truth? Because I know right now between my closet of nothing to wear and pantry of nothing to eat, I can clothe an army and feed them before they go. Why would God give you seed to sit unused? He is a Perfect God. He knows our heart and willingness to give. I assure you that someone is getting the seed that I am not sowing, and I want it back. I want to be a blessing to others because it is my reasonable service to the Lord. If I give myself, all of me, to the Lord, giving is a natural reflex that is born of my faith and trust in Him. As usual, it blesses me more than any discomfort it may immediately cause.
Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Grudge giving. Whoa Lord, where did that come from? Giving is an act of love. You cannot grudge and give a gift or it is not a gift at all. God is in the relationship business. Religion absolves our guilt with sacrifice. God applies grace to all that we do making it an acceptable offering to Him. It is not different when we give. All gifts must be preceded by forgiveness and covered with grace. Even in giving to another, it is unacceptable until our heart is right with all. We give unto God no matter who the recipient and He says, “I will not accept it without reconciliation with all.”
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Finally true to form, I am almost done with Christmas shopping this year. The last few years has made this a challenge, but thanks be to God the girl is back on her A-game. The kids really didn’t have extravagant lists. I love online shopping. Plus, we only have two left at home so there are definitely mitigating circumstances. I was pretty proud of myself. Except now, I am compelled to give to others committing to things that I have avoided for many years now. Heart of Worship is a favorite song that we sing in church. “I’m coming back to the heart of worship where it’s all about You…it’s all about You Jesus! I’m sorry Lord for the thing I made it when it’s all about You, it’s all about You!” You get the idea.
Why? It is easy to get caught up in life, busy and even religion so much that we forget at the end of the day and the bottom line is Jesus. He is the Life Giver. His Spirit in us compels us to be like Him and give but the world keeps telling us that we cannot afford to. Friends, we cannot afford not to. The Gift we have been given is life. Life more abundantly. If your life is not overflowing with an abundance of love, peace and joy – it could be the seed is dying in your silo. The answer is not to hang on to the Blessings of God but release them. The first church got it right. They prospered daily. All believers were together and had everything in common. They sold their homes and property so that no one had a need. This world has nothing for me. Jesus died so that I could live in His Kingdom forever. The only commodity on this planet worth anything are human souls. We should give all we have to reach them. We should empower and equip other believers beyond lip service to sharing what God invested in us with them. Giving money or any other tangible item does not “hurt” us. It helps us see that we have a treasure hidden in our hearts worth more than anything on earth. His Name is Jesus. He is the Heart of giving for it is in Him we live and breathe. He blesses us in our giving. Lord, thank you for reminding me today of the importance of giving. Make me aware of the needs of others and give me the willingness to share all that I have.
Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.