Posts Tagged 'generosity'

Producing Much Fruit

JESUS SPEAKING

      “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12: 23 – 25.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

       Utilizing an agricultural metaphor, Jesus references His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection. A single grain of wheat, when planted, can produce hundreds, thousands, and even millions of additional seeds. Similarly, the Lords’ suffering and agony upon the cross, and ensuing resurrection, has produced much fruit. His selfless sacrifice has inspired endless conversions; enabling millions to receive the mercy and grace of God.
       In the 1800’s there resided a little girl from Philadelphia name Hattie Wiatt. She lived in close proximity to a popular, and very crowded Grace Baptist Church. One day she approached the Church and asked to attend their Sunday school. Sadly, she was told that there was no more room. Less than two years later, Hattie fell ill and passed away. A pocket book containing 57 pennies was found underneath her pillow; it was wrapped in a piece of scrap paper; written on the paper was a note that read, “To help build the little temple bigger, so that more children can go to Sunday school.” She had saved her pennies for 2 years intending to give them as a donation to the church. The pastor told his congregation of Hattie’s selflessness. Immediately donations began pouring in, until they had collected nearly $250,000 dollars. Soon the church was seating 3,300 people; the parishioners also chose to build a hospital as well as a university accommodating some 1,400 students (today, attendance at Temple University has grown to nearly 28,000.) Hattie’s sacrifice, although small, has gone on to produce much fruit.
       Like Hattie, we are called to selflessly lay down our lives to “build the little temple bigger.” To sacrifice our own wants and desires so that others may come to know the love of God. When we serve our fellows, love our neighbors, and give to those in need, we bear much fruit. Those who strive to live selflessly will come to know peace; true peace; heavenly peace; eternal peace; “the peace that surpasses all understanding.”
       “Lord Heavenly Father, You are truly an amazing and awesome God. We desperately desire to be selfless; we yearn to lay down our lives so that others may come to know You. Help us to enjoy and embrace serving, giving, and loving. May we produce much fruit and bring many souls into Your everlasting Kingdom. 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.

Using Our Wealth to Glorify God

JESUS SPEAKING

        “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12: 32-34.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        Jesus commanded his followers to sell their earthly possessions and use the profits to help those in need.  For each sacrifice, he promised a future reward held for them in God’s eternal kingdom.  Although many amass great amounts of excess wealth, all possessions are impermanent; nothing tangible is of any eternal value.  Banks fail, thieves break in and steal, and death is inevitable.  No living person can carry any possessions from this life to the next; everything is left behind. Yet, for those who have heeded the command of Christ, far greater treasures await; no compassionate contribution, selfless act, or sacrificial donation is ever lost.  The Lord will credit those who have made charity ‘the backbone’ of their existence.  Death cannot take from the unselfish, what remains within the living God.  He is a divine vault that contains an eternal treasure.  In Him, every believer who has sacrificed their belongings will inherit the true riches of eternal life [Note:  Some things are necessary for living; if you own a home, a car, a computer, God is not necessarily asking you to sell them; especially if they are essential; pray about what Jesus Christ might be asking you to relinquish and use for His glory.]

        In the Old Testament, when Solomon succeeded his Father David as king, the Nation of Israel was at its Zenith; making him one of the wealthiest men who has ever lived.  Over the course of his 40 year reign he earned nearly 40 billion dollars worth of Gold (based on one estimate.)  He also acquired 700 wives and three hundred concubines.  He sat on a large mechanical throne covered in gold figures, which was allegedly carried around with him wherever he went.  His monumental building projects astonished onlookers for generations.  He constructed the temple in Jerusalem (one of the largest buildings ever created in the ancient world.)  His palace took 13 years to build and all of his drinking vessels were made of pure gold.  He owned many exotic animals and bread thousands of horses.  He owned 1,400 chariots and employed 12,000 horsemen.  Foreign rulers, the world over, traveled to his Kingdom to marvel at its prosperity.  The bible records that Solomon “made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones.”  With so much wealth and power, did Solomon live a satisfying life?  The answer can be found in the book of Ecclesiastes, which he wrote near the end of his life.  As he looked back upon his actions and accomplishments, he expressed extreme regret.  He concluded that the large buildings, the Gold and silver, the women, the exotic foods, the fine clothes, and the abundant possessions were all meaningless.  He wrote “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, by increase […] there is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: riches kept for their owner to his hurt […] as he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand […] just exactly as he came, so shall he go.”  As death approached, King Solomon had finally discovered the true value of wealth; homes are unimportant, bank accounts are trivial, and fine clothes are insignificant; but generosity lasts forever. 

        Jesus Christ continually reminds the world of the truth that Solomon discovered so many years ago; wealth is only valuable when it is used to bless others.  Those who have utilized their excesses to help the poor are in fact wealthier than the richest man who has ever lived.  For when death arrives, the wealthy man will have nothing, but the faithful believer will inherit true riches; everlasting possessions that cannot be taken away.  Our wealth serves no purpose, unless it serves His purpose.  The things we have that are not being used, can be used to glorify God and to help others.

        “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and ask that You give us the strength and the courage to use our wealth for Your purposes.  May our excesses be given over to help those in need.  Give us opportunities to be instruments of kindness; may we abandon ourselves to You.  May our lives be lived in sacrifice, and self-denial; and may we one day inherit the true riches of Your glorious Kingdom.  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 is better than Receiving

JESUS SPEAKING

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

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            The word ‘blessed’ most commonly translates in to the English word for ‘happiness.’  Those who live a ‘blessed’ life regularly experience joy, peace, and contentment.  Such a pleasant existence can only be achieved and maintained through daily acts of selflessness and service.  Sadly however, nearly all human beings are resoundingly selfishness.  In an endeavor to acquire as many possessions as possible, many become isolated, depressed, and discouraged. They aren’t aware that true happiness doesn’t come from selfish gain; rather, it 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.]

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

            “Lord Heavenly Father, pour out upon us Your many blessings.  As we love and serve our fellows, may we be filled with happiness and joy.  May our selfish desires come to an end; that through sacrifice, others might come to glorify Your holy 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.

Sacrificial Giving

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 part of the Christian faith.  God has commanded everyone 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 to use it as charity in the lives of the less fortunate.  As Jesus watched the money box, he observed many wealthy people 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; she trusted in the Lord, and in turn, Jesus honored her sacrifice above all others.

          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 what God has asked them to give, and they do give more than they can afford.)  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 (USA Today, Oct. 25, 1990.)  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 you give when you can and may you give when it hurts; and may God honor you for your sacrifice.

          “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, and we withhold none 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.

God’s possessions

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 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

              Zachariah prophesied that the messiah would humbly arrive.  Riding not on a horse or chariot; but rather, on a donkey.  Jesus therefore sent out two disciples to procure an animal for his triumphal entry in to Jerusalem.  When the men were confronted by the owner, they did as they were instructed; saying, “The Lord has need of it.”  In turn, they were permitted to leave.  Much has been written about this brief encounter; most commentators highlight the omniscience of God, the wisdom of Christ, and the faithfulness of the disciples.  Yet in the midst of these obvious truths, there exists a nameless stranger; a generous individual who recognized that his or her possessions were divine endowments; heavenly gifts that, at any time, could be used to serve God’s purposes.

               Every year around the holidays, a Christian organization known as ‘Operation Christmas Child’ begins working with thousands of churches across the country.  Congregational members fill shoeboxes full of valuable items and deliver them to their local pastors.  The parcels are then transported to a warehouse and sorted by volunteers; packaged, and shipped to impoverished nations around the world.  Some givers even include heart felt letters and pictures of themselves.  I myself have participated in this endeavor.  Seeing millions of Americans respond to God’s call is truly inspiring.  By giving of their time and resources, they have effectively revealed the love Jesus Christ to some of the least fortunate souls.

              Like the donkey in this scripture, our possessions are not our own; our time, our money, and our resources belong to God.  We are stewards of what we have been given.  When the Lord calls, we must use our assets to spread the love of Jesus Christ.  Be still, and the Holy Spirit will instruct you how, when, and what to give.  Through generosity and faithfulness, you will know the joy of the Lord; now, and forevermore.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, give us opportunities to use our resources to further the gospel.  May we be generous; may we be faithful; and may we never turn away from those in need; serving others with gladness and singleness of heart.  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.

Genuine Giving

JESUS SPEAKING

                “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you?  For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back” (Luke 6: 34.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Even the most evil individuals will give money to those who promise to pay them back.  Jesus desired that his disciples be completely selfless; therefore he taught them to give expecting nothing in return.  Everyone who longs to practice true Godliness must freely give (when they are able) to those who are in need.

                One day, as I was getting ready to leave the gym, I bumped in to an acquaintance who asked to borrow $10 dollars.  After giving him the money he continued to insist that he would pay me back.  (With this scripture in mind) I told him that the money was from God, and that I did not desire any form of repayment.  He understood that it was a gift and not a loan; as we parted ways I felt a warm blessing in my heart.

                The Lord is pleased when His disciples standout; when they shine; when they are more loving and more charitable than those around them.  Giving without expectation or the desire for repayment is just one identifiable characteristic of a true believer.  Whether we pass by a stranger begging for change, or a family member who needs help to pay the rent; if we cannot give freely we will not receive an eternal reward; may you always choose to freely give; may you love without restriction, and may you receive the ultimate compensation for your unconditional obedience.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to be obedient, to be caring, and to be generous.  May we always freely give expecting nothing in return; for we desire heavenly rewards over earthly rewards.  May Your love for others flow through us, that our faith might be a light to all those who walk in darkness.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you.

Better to give than to recieve

JESUS SPEAKING

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

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            The word ‘blessed’ most commonly translates in to the English word for ‘happiness.’  Those who live a ‘blessed’ life experience great joy, peace, and contentment.  Such an existence can only be achieved and maintained through daily acts of selflessness and service.  Sadly however, from birth, nearly all human beings are resoundingly selfishness.  As the unsaved seek to acquire as many possessions as possible, most become isolated, depressed and discouraged.  They are unaware that true happiness does not come from selfish gain; rather, it is the product of selfless giving.

            Michael Norton, a Harvard business professor, sought to discover a link between overall happiness and daily giving.  He therefore 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’ allotments.  [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.]

            Norton had discovered that although selfish gain seemed appealing, it lacked the power bring about lasting joy.  True peace and genuine contentment are the products of selflessness and sacrifice.  By serving and giving to others, the believer demonstrates generosity and Christian love.  As selflessness reigns in our hearts and minds, we must never forget that happiness comes not from what we might receive, but rather, from what we are willing to give.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, pour out upon us Your many blessings.  As we serve and love our fellows, may our hearts be filled with generosity and love.  May selfishness have its end in us, and may selflessness reign in our lives, that through our sacrifices, others might come to glorify Your Holy Name.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.


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