Tag Archives: rich

Learning to Give

The following story provides a good illustration for a person with the good character of giving:  “Marquis de Lafayette was a French officer who provided invaluable assistance to George Washington and the struggling American army. After the war was over, he returned to France and resumed his life as a farmer of many estates. In 1783, the harvest was a terrible one, and there were many who suffered as a result. Lafayette’s farms were unaffected by the devastating crop failures. One of his workers offered what seemed to be good advice to Lafayette, “The bad harvest has raised the price of wheat. This is the time to sell.” After thinking about the hungry peasants in the surrounding villages, Lafayette disagreed and said, “No, this is the time to give.”” (Daniel Loy)

Giving may not be a very natural human response.  In fact, when you think of your own life, it may be that much of what you do is collect, save, and accumulate – for yourself.  Giving is a learned habit for the Christian.  One of the spiritual gifts in Romans 12 is giving.  Romans 12:8 says “…he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” 

Those with the spiritual gift of giving, give far greater than a mere 10%.  Along with the call and gift of giving the Lord gives the means to give.  The Christian who exercises his spiritual gift of giving will be blessed in material ways because he has been faithful to give to others what God has given to him.

Just because a Christian may not have the “spiritual gift” of giving does not mean that he should not be give.  Even those gifted in other areas have a responsibility to God and their local church to be good stewards of the finances God has entrusted to them.  Giving is something that is learned.  It is a practice that is developed as our faith is developed.

The Lord has much to say in the Bible about giving to spiritual endeavors and the needs of those around us.  Here are several examples:

  • Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  2 Corinthians 9:7
  • Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass… Exodus 35:5
  • If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.  Deuteronomy 15:7-8
  • Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.  For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.  2 Corinthians 8:11-12

Perhaps we could be like Marquis de Lafayette, who when confronted with becoming more rich, he chose to give to those in need.  After all, in Heaven, the way we use our money – not how much money we have is how the Lord measures our faithfulness as managers and stewards of His provision.

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Discovering Joy

Discovering Joy

Joy has been aptly defined in a simple and yet profound acrostic.

Jesus, Others, You.

I like that.  Consider the depth of joy as opposed to the shallowness of mere happiness.  Happiness is generally derived from outer circumstances, while joy comes from within.  Happiness is impacted by good or bad surroundings whereas joy remains constant no matter the events a person may go through.  Joy is something that God can put inside your mind when you love and adore Him first in life.  We can be happy when our team wins; but if our team losses, we can still have joy.  We can get excited when the report comes back good; but when the doctor says, cancer or surgery, we can still have joy.

Speaking of the Macedonian Christians, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8:2 “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

These early Christians were suffering persecution, yet remained joyful in Jesus.  Many were tortured and killed for their faith.  These believers were known to be poor, yet were rich in spirit and even in sacrificing what little finances they had in order to give to missions work and Gospel ministry.  They had and Gospel focus in life.

They were so focused on loving The Lord, and on serving others that in spite of their lack of stuff, they had joy.  Even though their circumstances were tragic – they were at peace with God, satisfied with life, and expressed the joy of the Lord in their countenance, actions, and relationships.

Many times, we settle for “pursuing happiness” when we should be seeking, Bible based joy. Even if your circumstances are “less than ideal” or even if it seems like one storm after another comes your way – you can have the joy of the Lord in your life.

Following the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, the people gather together to hear Ezra read the Bible.  Following his reading, Nehemiah stands up and says in Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The Joy of the Lord is our strength too.  Nehemiah says to “go celebrate, but no matter what happens the rest of your life – you can rely the joy of the Lord.”  This joy gives us strength and hope for the journey called life.  The Jews in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem were to face more troubles and challenges in the days ahead – and we will too.  Relying on the power of God can reinforce this idea that no matter the circumstances, the joy of the Lord can be real in our life.

Change the priority and focus of your life.  When my love shifts from selfishly loving myself to selflessly loving God, then others, and then far down the list, myself – then joy is can be discovered in my life.

Jesus – First.

Others – Second.

You – Last.

It will change your life.