Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,
drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely GIVE. -Matthew 10:8
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” –Mark 12:41-44
When we freely GIVE to others it takes the focus off of us
We often think that the world revolves around us, right? We may even have a great heart and good intentions, but so often we just don’t take the time to open our eyes to the world outside ‘our own little world’. The real world is a hurting place. The real world is very broken. And a world that is hurt and broken needs a SAVIOR to redeem, restore and heal. We are His hands and feet today, so we have to break out of our comfort zone, become a little uncomfortable and see others the way God sees them. In serving and giving to others freely without getting caught up in our own agendas, but instead getting caught up in God’s agenda, means that we can finally get out of the way and let Jesus use us as a pure vessel for His love.
Freely giving sacrificially is about trusting God in faith to provide
Just recently God challenged our family to ‘think outside the box’ with our giving. God asked us to giveall of our dry boxed and canned food items away. Yes, EVERYTHING! It seemed pretty easy to donate a bag or two of groceries when they needed food for “Stamp Out Hunger”. It didn’t hurt, in fact to be honest we didn’t really feel a sacrifice at all because we gave out of our ‘plenty’. Sounds a bit like the people Jesus saw giving out of their abundance in the temple. But, wait a minute…then came the widow who gave ALL that she had. “Hang on God – you mean you actually want me to GIVE sacrificially?” So, we heard His voice and we said “Yes” to God. Our family bagged up everything unopened in our cupboards and pantry and we drove to ECHO (Emergency Care Help Organization) which helps families in crisis situations with emergency food, clothing and household item needs. It felt so good to give knowing many families would be blessed. What joy when we realized “It’s not about us”. Then came the act of trusting God to provide for us – you see we had stocked our pantry for our family’s needs, and now after returning home we didn’t have any Mac & Cheese for dinner, no tuna, no pasta, no cereal left for ourselves.
When we see the needs of others we have a new sense of thankfulness for what we have
While we waited on God to provide for our family it’s interesting how much more grateful I became the next morning when we didn’t have juice at the table for breakfast – I finally got it! In our sacrificial giving it changed my heart to appreciate what I do have. It made me think about what most people go without ALL the time, and what I took for granted ALL the time. It made our family grateful for the blessings we have, and most importantly the blessings we have in the gift of each other. The juice didn’t really seem so important any more. After several days it was amazing to see how God took care of us – we received a blessed and unexpected gift of a grocery store gift card and a friend who didn’t know about what we had done gave me a bag of groceries to bless our family.
“Father God, I am so glad we trusted you as a family. Thank you for the opportunity to think of others more importantly than ourselves. Thank you for changing our hearts and drawing us into your presence. Thank you for opening our eyes to the needs of others. Thank you for blessing our family with a valuable lesson and for showering your blessings back upon us. What a mighty God we serve! Amen.”
“My little group of disciples, don’t be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and GIVE the money to the poor. Make yourselves moneybags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.” -Luke 12:32-34