Yesterday my friend Corrine and I had the privilege of writing thank you notes to the people who donated to help her and her husband pay their medical bills (you can see more about that here). It was a great way to reflect on how the Lord provided for their needs through the donations and generosity of others. As Corrine, myself and my roomie were talking about the concept of giving and meeting the needs of others, we started discussing the series our pastors are doing at our church.
As I thought about the concepts we were discussing, this thought came to mind:
Giving shouldn’t be a matter of “should I,” “how much” or “when to,” but rather a matter of “what or who to give to.”
This thought doesn’t just apply to giving money, but to time, emotions and talents as well. The Bible calls believers to give sacrificially and to give when the need comes up, not when it’s convenient for us. Whenever an opportunity comes up to give the Lord often brings to mind Proverbs 3:27-28; “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.”
I have to admit there are times when opportunities are presented and I miss them; sadly sometimes due to my selfishness and unwillingness to do good when I have the means to do so. When I think about selfishness and self preservation I realize that, at their core, they truly reveal a serious lack of trust in the Lord. So it wasn’t surprising to realize that the same chapter where the verses above can be found are the often quoted Proverbs 3:5-6; “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
These verses are life verses for me and I can recall many times when they’ve been dear friends to me in great times of despair. They have also been reminders to continue to look to the Lord in times of great blessings. And of course they have been exhortations in times of learning and growth. I just love how the Lord reveals new layers and truths through His Word over time and in different seasons of our lives!
Which brings me back to our current sermon series, “The Practice of Giving.” I must say that I am BEYOND grateful for how our pastors have approached this topic. The topic of money is always a tough one to cover, but the topic of how to be kingdom minded with our money is another battle entirely. I’m proud of my pastors for how they’ve discussed these issues in their sermons and I’ve been challenged in many ways.
I’ve been challenged to approach this concept of giving from all angles, not just from the perspective of money. I’m challenged to ask myself how I’m giving of my time in prayer for others, in service to others and in making myself available to meet needs that come up. I’m challenged to ask myself if I’m missing any opportunities to meet needs around me because I’m so consumed with myself, with materialism, with “my time” and/or my “to do list.” And of course many of the opportunities that come up will be to help meet financial needs, so I’m challenged to ask myself if I’m trusting the Lord to provide when He presents an opportunity for giving financially -it’s His money any way!
Lastly, the Lord continues to challenge me to trust Him to provide for my current needs with moving to DC. As the date gets closer He’s revealing that these needs aren’t just financial, though it would be easy to be consumed with that aspect of it. There are needs of prayer, needs of physical help with moving, needs of encouraging words and even needs of farewell hugs.
So often we think that the word “giving” only refers to financial giving, especially when mentioned in a church setting, but that’s not always the case. Giving means acknowledging the Lord in all we do and trusting Him to make our paths straight. Giving means trusting the Lord in all areas of life; whether that’s seeking Him to answer the question of “where or who to” to give to or surrendering our own needs to Him and trusting Him to provide above all that we could ask or think of.
I know it will continue to be a long road of progressive sanctification, but my prayer for you and I is that the Lord would create in us hearts that desire to give and surrender to Him in every way that He calls us to.