by Pastor Tim Burt
A picture recently triggered an old memory that made me laugh. When my kids were young our life was crazy busy. (Actually, it's always been that way.) Anyway, to make sure we'd get a break for us and the kids, we'd all (kids included) save our change and coupon savings money for a weekend getaway in a hotel with a pool. The kids would swim and play all weekend and love it more than going to Disney! On the drive to where we were going, we'd stop in a grocery store or gas station and I'd let each of my four children pick out three candy treats that I paid for! They's all look up at me with a big smile and in harmony say, THANK YOU DAD! They knew this moment was coming and it was one of the highlight moments of their trip! The second we were back in the car, they'd be digging into their first treat. It was at this point that I strategically tested their giving nature. I'd put my hand out and say, can I have a couple of those? Two of them would easily share. One of them was more hesitant but did. And the other one didn't want to share. He'd look up at me and say, Dad, you just bought these for us. Why didn't you buy one for yourself? I'd say, I didn't want to buy a whole box or bag of candy and was just hoping you'd share a couple with me. I'd continue, I bought those for you and yet you won't share a couple with me? Sometimes he did but grudgingly, and sometimes he didn't. This opened the door for a discussion on learning to be a generous giver!
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT) says, "You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” This verse reveals that God wants us to become those who learn to give generously and cheerfully. The main reason people don't is because they think they will have less and be deprived of something by giving what they have. God's Word reveals the opposite. It indicates over and over that the supernatural power of God is most involved with those that have learned to give cheerfully and by faith, so that when they do, God will become involved in meeting their needs. Look at these two verses and see if you can see it.
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV) says, "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty." Imagine that! You give more freely (because you trust God and have become a generous giver) and you end up with more. Mr. Stingy doesn't give and he ends up with less. Hmm!
And in Luke 6:38 (NLT) Jesus said, "Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
God also teaches us in Psalm 112 about the character of "the righteous person" meaning in this case, one who has godly character developed within him/her in the area of giving. Psalms 112:9 (NLT) says, "They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor."
When trying to teach my children about the importance of sharing and giving, I tried to help them understand a concept that was difficult for them. You wouldn't think it would be difficult but it was. I tried to help them understand that when they shared with me, that I was always able to supply them with more. If they ran out, that was something I could help with because I had the resources to do so. The stingy would think, if you have the resources, why don't you get your own. The generous would think, He blessed us and I am going to bless him back. He is always kind to give to me!
If you'd ask god about this, the Lord would reveal that this same truth is also true when we give tithes and offerings to God or when we give to the needs of others because we feel compelled to by the Lord. When we understand that God is our Heavenly Father and that He loves a cheerful giver, then we begin to live in His supernatural economy. We don't give to get. We give with the pure motive of being cheerful givers knowing that when we give, we give not only to the one in need, but in our heart, making it a sacrifice to God knowing He meets all of our needs. This is the kind of heart God blesses over and over and over again. In story of the widow's mite, in Luke chapter 21, the little that she had, she gave. Why? Because she trusted God and knew that anything she had, came from God anyway. 2 Corinthians 9:10 (NLT2) reveals this truth saying, "For God is the
one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He
will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of
generosity in you."
The gifts that we are to scatter generously are not limited to monetary or material things. Each one of us has a deep well of riches—talents, skills, time and help, edification, a listening ear, and more within us. As we share resources and gifts liberally to those around us, God transform us to become cheerful, generous, instinctive givers who produces "a great harvest of generosity in you!" It is in this exercise of faith that we learn the revelation of Proverbs 11:25 (NIV) "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
My children are now all adults who have become generous and cheerful givers and each of them is very blessed in their life. They have learned the blessing of sacrificially giving to God and others! As we learn this, it will help shape our heart to be like God's—the ultimate giver who gave the greatest of all gifts, Jesus!
Romans 8:32 (NIV) "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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