Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the blessings and gifts that God has given me. He brought to my attention the gift of giving. Wait…Giving a blessing? Perhaps you thought receiving was the blessing but I’d like to challenge your perception. Giving has really changed my life for the better so I wanted to share with you my insights on giving.
Giving is truly a gift from God. It is a discipline that doesn’t always come naturally but it most definitely yields goodness. Many times we don’t give out of fear that we ourselves don’t have enough, or because of selfishness, bad experiences when others take us for granted or sometimes even because of envy and jealousy. The truth is giving takes humility and often times sacrifice. There is no denying that. The problem however when we focus so much on the cost of giving and we miss out on the gain.
When we think of giving I know one of the first things that come in to your minds is monetary or material things but know that those are not the only beneficiary things to give. In addition we can give our time to others, our encouragement, our aid and our prayers. Now it is one thing to just give and it is another thing to give with the right heart. Having the right heart in giving is essential. It is not the quantity of what we give or how expensive that gift is but that we give freely out of our hearts to others. Give freely out of love, never in fear, anger or negative feelings of obligation. When we give grudgingly and not out of love our gifts lose their meaning and their significance.
Why should we give?
1. Give out of Gratitude. Give because God first gave and continues to give. Our heavenly father has given us the gift of life and supplies our every need out of His love for us. What better way to give thanks to God than to be an extension of His love and a promoter of His plans and purposes. Have you ever heard the expression, “Imitation is the best form of flattery”? So we ought to follow God’s footsteps and His example. Giving is our expression of love to God. We give because we love Him.
2. Give and Watch Blessings Flow. Giving and generosity opens up an avenue for blessings. When you give bountifully to others, it comes back the same way. In Proverbs 11:25 it says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Earlier I mentioned that sometimes we fear giving to others because we are afraid we don’t have enough to give ourselves. It is clear from this scripture that those who give will never lack. God blesses those who give. Your blessing will return larger than what you gave. Giving is an investment. If you sow seeds of generosity and goodness you will reap a harvest of the same. It takes faith to believe this principle… faith and patience. When a farmer sows a seed, his field does not yield crop the next day. Rather, his harvest comes at an appointed season.
3. Give and Leave an Impact. When you give, subconsciously it encourages others to do the same. The sphere of your influence increases when you give. Set the stage and the climate in which you want to live. Live out what you want to see in others. Live out what you want to see in your communities. Change your focus. When you step in to a place your focus shouldn’t be how you can “survive” in the present climate but how you can be a spiritual thermostat and affect the climate positively.
4. Give and God will be glorified. In Mathew 5:16 it says,” Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Be a light in whatever place you find yourself. Be a light to whomever you come across. One of my favorite quotes is “Bloom wherever you are planted”. It is only natural that if you see a flower flourishing and growing in an unexpected place that you will question its source and its supply. In the same way others will question who is your supplier and wonder what is making you to flourish. They will want to tap into whatever stream that you are growing from.
5. Give and learn. In the past two years, I have spent a lot of time volunteering. If you look at the main page of the website you’ll see a flash player with photos of a few of my volunteering experiences. I have discovered in my time volunteering that I myself was the one who gained from giving back in unexpected ways. I learned so much from others. Firstly, it took me to give before I really knew the needs of others. It is one thing to read about the challenges we face in our societies or to watch it unfold on the news but it’s so much more meaningful when you identify those needs first hand. I met so many different people from different walks of life…some old and some young. Whomever I encountered while giving back taught me something I didn’t know about myself before. To be truthful acts of service is one of the quickest ways to identify your strengths, your weaknesses and the condition of your heart. I learned discipline. I learned humility. I learned the importance of unity….all from giving. It started with that.
6. Give and be satisfied. Giving feels good. It is rewarding. It gives you a sense of internal peace as well as a sense of importance or purpose. When we start to entertain thoughts that we are not needed in the lives of others we lose our sense of purpose and direction. We question our existence and sometimes go as far as questioning if anyone would miss us if we weren’t around. I know, that sounds extreme doesn’t it? But I also know that many of you have had such questions pop up in your mind before, even if it is for a second. The truth is friends, is that we are ALL needed by someone in one capacity or another. We are needed by our families, loved ones, friends, ministries and even in our jobs…because we were all created uniquely by God. No two people are alike and this is for a reason. We all have something to offer. Even if we play the same roles in life as the person next to us we may be similar but never identical. Know that you matter.
Your giving matters.
While self-investments are important, know that investing in others is one of the best investments you can make. Invest in others by giving to them. Give whenever you can and in whatever capacity you can. Giving is an act that unites us together rather than pulling us apart. Giving is a gift that not only teaches but has the ability impact our surroundings in a positive way.
Remember, God sees you. He sees your heart and He will honor you. It is my prayer that you will abandon any existing negative ideas that you have about giving and be urged to start giving today.