Posts Tagged 'generosity'

Our Possessions Belong to God

JESUS SPEAKING

And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought him to Jesus (Luke 19: 29 – 35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The book of Zechariah prophesied that the messiah would arrive humbly; “riding on a donkey.” Jesus therefore sent out a pair of disciples to procure an animal for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The men, upon being confronted by the animal’s owners, did exactly as they were instructed; they simply replied, “The Lord has need of it.” They were then permitted to leave. Much has been written about this brief encounter; many have highlighted the omniscience of God, the wisdom of Christ, and the faithfulness of the disciples. Yet in the presence of God’s glory, there exists a nameless stranger; a generous individual who recognized that his possessions were divine endowments; gifts from God, ready to be used to serve the Creator whenever He had need of them.

It is said of General George Gordon, that when the English government sought to reward him for his magnificent service in China, he declined all money and titles, but accepted a gold medal on which his name and a record of his thirty-three engagements was inscribed. After his death the medal could not be found. Eventually it was discovered that he had sent it to Manchester during a famine, with a request that it be melted and used to buy bread for the famished poor. In his diary that day he had written these words: “The last and only thing that I had in this world that I valued, I have given over to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
       Our possessions are not our own; our time, our money, and our resources all belong to God. We are mere stewards of what we have been given. When the Lord calls, we must be willing to relinquish control of our time, our money, and our goods so that others may know the love of Christ. Be still, and the Holy Spirit will tell you what, when, and where to give. Be generous and faithful, and you will experience the joy of the Lord; and His peace will fill your heart, now and forevermore.
      “Lord Heavenly Father, give us opportunities to use our resources to further Your Kingdom. May we be generous; may we be faithful; may we serve others with gladness and singleness of heart; and may we never turn away from those who are in need. All that we have is Yours. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.” God bless all of you!

Giving

JESUS SPEAKING

     “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20: 35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    The word ‘blessed’ most commonly translates into the English word for ‘happiness.’  Those who live a ‘blessed’ life regularly experience joy, peace, and contentment, despite the presence of any challenging circumstances.  Such a pleasant existence can only be achieved and maintained through daily acts of sacrificial service.  And yet, nearly every human being is resoundingly selfish.  In an endeavor to acquire as many possessions as possible, some have become isolated, discouraged and depressed. They remain unaware that genuine happiness doesn’t come from selfish gratification; but instead, is the product of selfless giving.

     Michael Norton, a Harvard business professor sought to discover a link between overall happiness and daily giving.  He conducted an experiment in which a small amount of money was given to a group of test subjects.  Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves; the other half were told to spend the money on someone else.  When researchers contacted the subjects at the end of the day, they found that those who had spent the money on someone else reported feeling much happier than those who had selfishly squandered their allotted funds.  [Note:  In another study, Norton found that sales team productivity and relationship quality increased as salespeople were given money to spend on other team members.]

     Professor Norton had discovered that, although selfish gain seems appealing, it also lacks the power bring about lasting joy.  Genuine peace and contentment are the result of selflessness and sacrifice.  By serving and giving we can demonstrate the generosity and love of Jesus Christ. May we never forget that happiness doesn’t originate from what we might receive, but rather, from what we are willing to give.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, continue to shower us with your many blessings.  As we love and serve our fellows, may we be filled with Your unending joyfulness and peace.  May our selfish desires come to an end; that through us, countless wandering souls might come to glorify Your Wonderful Name.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You; and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Tithing

JESUS SPEAKING

   And Jesus sat across from the treasury, and observed the people throwing their money into the treasury.  And many who were rich cast in much.  And there approached a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which makes a farthing.  And he called his disciples to Himself and said to them, “Truly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in much more than everyone who has given to the treasury; for they cast in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12: 41 – 44.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Generosity is an essential tenant of the Christian faith.  God has commanded every follower to use their resources to bless others.  Giving to God what belongs to Him is known as tithing; a tithe is an offering of the first fruits of one’s increase; for example, a person who earns $100 dollars is instructed to give $10 dollars to the church; or in many cases, to use it as charity in the lives of the less fortunate. In this scripture, as Jesus watched the money box, he observed many wealthy individuals putting in huge sums of money; yet along came a poor widow who couldn’t afford to tithe, and still she gave what she had; she gave when she couldn’t; she gave when it hurt. Still she trusted in the Lord, and in turn, Jesus honored her sacrifice above all others.  [Note: Although ten percent is customary, the more we give, the greater the blessings we will inherit.] 

   Despite giving larger quantities of money, many of the wealthiest people in America are actually the least charitable, proportionately (this is not always the case; some wealthy people do give quite generously.)  However, a study published in Newsweek found that ‘most church members give far less than 10 percent;’ most actually give under 2 percent.  ‘Further, it seems that the poor give a far greater portion of their income than the rich.  Actually, families that earned $10,000 dollars gave 5.5 per cent of their income to charity.  Families that earned between $50,000, and 60,000 dollars gave only 1.7 per cent of their earnings.’  It seems that the poor are often, but not always, the most generous givers.

  Giving when it hurts is not always easy; nor is it completely logical; but it is praiseworthy.  When we give from our abundance we honor God; when we give from our poverty we learn to completely trust in Him.  The blessings of faithful charity are abundant; those who give in love, receive the gifts of the Spirit; as they draw nearer to God they experience peace, faith, and hope; the generous inherit an eternal possession that can never be taken away.  May we give when we can, and practice charity even when it hurts; and may God honor our sacrifices.

  “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to honor You with our possessions.  Help us to give to those in need; may we tithe continuously and may we receive the blessings of our faithful generosity.  We trust You Lord; help us to never withhold any of our resources from You.  May we give when we can, and may we give when it hurts.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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