Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Giving out of our need

I have heard many a person hopelessly announce, "I don't have anything to contribute."  In considering what they "have" in the light of how they may compare to another, they see their own talents or treasures as "deficient".  This is totally not true!  I believe scripture plainly addresses the issue.  Each of us is given a measure of talent - NEEDED talent.  It has a purpose - even if it is a small one.  Look at the widow with the one tiny mite (not even a penny).  She gave it all - nothing compared to the "sizable" offering of the others who came to the temple that day, but it was EVERYTHING to her.  Faithful hands and a yielded heart is all God ever wants.  


8-11 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, "He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out."  This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.  (2 Corinthians 9:8-11 The Message)


How does faith begin to arise from within us?  Certainly, it comes as we begin to yield our lives to God in surrender.  As we "center" our thoughts on him, we begin to feel the "settling" influence of his Spirit.  This very "settling" of our emotions (fears) begins to allow us to "rest" in him.  This "rest" becomes the place out of which we begin to "give" out of what he has given to us.  At first, the "giving out" from what God has given us may seem like it is small, and even insignificant, but it is a SIZABLE thing in God's eyes!


I encourage you to reread the above passage a couple of times today.  Look at the wonderful messages contained here:


1.  God can pour on the blessings - and he does it in ways so astonishing we may not fully be able to comprehend it!  I have learned God seldom meets my need in the exact manner I imagined.  In fact, he often has some other awesome way of meeting it which I would never have considered!  One thing I know for certain - God is not limited by our imagination!


2.  His presence in our life makes all things different.  His very presence is what gives us the ability to stand when we are weak, trust when all seems to be falling apart, give when it hurts, and reach out when retreating to a place of refuge would be much easier.  It is God's unique way of blessing us - give and it shall be given.


3.  God knows no limitations.  I rarely get to the place of "throwing all caution to the wind", yet it is commonplace for God to do so!  He delights in pouring into our lives - his presence, his peace, his love.  Whatever the need - he is ready.  What he gives, he desires to use as a blessing not only for us, but for those whose lives we will touch in turn.  I honestly believe this is one small way he is able to show his limitless love and power!  He uses his blessing in our lives to touch the lives of others (no matter how small it may seem).


4.  We always have something we can give away.  I frequently get the calls from the agencies who run the various thrift shops in town.  They are seeking donations of used goods they might sell within their various stores.  The concept is simple (and it is kind of biblical).  It is in the giving of what we have that others are put to work in a productive manner.  As the donation is made, the truck drivers have a mission (a purpose).  The donation is sorted by others who needed productive work.  The items are distributed to the various stores to be resold.  In so doing, even this small gift of what we saw as no longer had useful in our lives becomes a huge blessing to many, many others.  The one who purchases the item is only the recipient of it after it has been a blessing to many others along the way!  


Throw caution to the wind, my friends!  God wants both the things of our abundance AND of our need!  He delights in seeing us give from our abundance, but he is overjoyed when he sees us giving out of "need"!  In so doing, we are blessing him - but we also see the many blessings of others being touched by what God is doing in our lives.  In learning to give in such a way, we are learning to live "robust lives" in God's goodness and grace!