Posts Tagged 'generosity'

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.

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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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