Giving & Recieving

A reality of giving gifts out of love for God is that you will never be able to give as much as you receive back.  For sure.

If you give out of love for Christ, you will receive back more than you could possibly have imagined.  My pastor says “You can never out-give God”–in anything!  Offering God your time, sacrificing bad habits for Him, or giving gifts to show your love for Him will never go unnoticed by Him, and you’ll never be able to give Him as much as He will give you.

When I give, I might not find more of the cheap: money bags on your doorstep, extra presents under your Christmas tree, a car that never breaks down, or a growing savings’ account.  Those are the big deal kind of stuff to us, but they are the cheap stuff to God.

And when I give, I might not get more health-on-this-earth either.  I’m not really thinking about the narratives I read in the Bible when I give for this reason.  Job gave generously and his children died in a tragedy, he lost all his wealth, and he broke out in horrendous boils.  Paul gave generously and spent many nights in cold cells, was viewed as the scum of society, went hungry and sleepless some nights, and was beaten over and over.

Though God may not give us wealth or health to “reward” our giving (as if we deserve any reward for giving away a little of what we have received from Him by His outstanding mercy!), as we develop giving hearts, we find that, more and more, those aren’t the kind of things we really want anyway.  What we will find more of is the priceless.

About two years ago I began a trek of giving.  I haven’t gotten very far, but what I have learned is the more I give, the more wonderful my life becomes.  Giving does mean sacrifice–giving up something you’d really like to have, like a nice meal at a restaurant, or that new trendy outfit, or a necklace you wanted to buy to make you feel special, or a dessert every night after dinner.  I don’t know if you’ll get more of those kinds of things because you give–I kinda doubt it.  What I have learned that happens is those kind of things become less and less important, until they’re dim memories far out-shined by the brilliant light of loving Jesus Christ.

The Bible makes no pretense about it–giving is a part of living a life for God.  Giving out of drudgery or guilt is probably not going to bring you much joy.  For years, I avoided giving altogether because I simply didn’t care about it.  It wasn’t until I committed my life to Christ that I began to see giving not as a feeble try at paying God back but instead a way to back what God paid.  In other words, we stand by the power of the cross in our lives when we give out of joy.  Our giving shows we have an inkling of how much Jesus gave when He died for us.

You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35b, NLT)

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