Giving; February 19, 2020

2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

This verse expresses a very important principle. We tend to compare things on a strictly quantitative basis, when God, as always, looks deeper. This verse reminds me of a Christmas poem that is thought of as being for children. The speaker is a child, considering what they can give the baby Jesus, listing various possibilities such as, “If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb.” It lists various occupations that the speaker doesn’t meet, and then concludes with, “What will I give Him? I’ll give Him my heart.” The poem is seen as very “cute,” and when a small child recites it, adults often get emotional. However, it applies to every person of whatever age. If we are one of those occupations listed, God asks us to give accordingly. The thing is, every one of us has a heart, and that is what God wants most. We tend to focus on, “I don’t have to give what I don’t have,” and forget that we do need to give what we do have. Too often we limit giving to finances, or at least to material things, when actually it covers everything: ability, time, consideration, love, respect, as well as all the material stuff. Also, we get confused about how to give to God, specifically. He doesn’t need anything we can give Him, but He desires us to give for our sake, because it changes us for the better. However, Jesus made it very clear how we can give to Him: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) Yesterday I saw a video on Facebook about “professional” beggars in the US today. There have been such throughout history, so discernment is called for. The thing that is angering about that is that such people blind us to those who are in genuine need. That said, we give to God by giving to those around us. If we have no time for our children, for example, do we really have time for Jesus? All that God gives us, even including time, is blessed and multiplied when we allow it to flow through us to bless others.

This can be a hard thing to keep in mind. I’m as self-centered as anyone, I think, and I tend to think of my own convenience and comfort first. If I am as Christ-centered as I would like to be, then I will see the needs around me and offer myself as God’s instrument to meet those needs. God has given me many abilities, and those aren’t simply for my satisfaction. Yesterday I was able to help some friends who are moving by doing some things that seemed simple to me but not so simple to them, and it blessed me. The greatest thing I have is knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so the best thing I can do for anyone is to share that knowledge. However, I am never to use that as an excuse for failing to share the many other things God has given me as well.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I do sometimes resent some of the many demands that are made of me. Help me be discerning, but in no way hold back when You have made provision for someone else through me. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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