Finding JOY in Giving

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Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,~Luke 6:38.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too,~Phil 2:4.

One of the major causes of depression is selfishness. You might think, “No way!” Yes way. When our focus is always ourselves we will not be happy or have joy. Why? Because God did not create us to be self centered.

We were created to connect first to God, then others. The God sized void can only be filled by Him. Once He fills us up, He intends for us to pour out. If we don’t, we implode.

Have you ever had a plant that grew wildly? I have. I have a set of plants that once they grow to a certain size they stop because they are root bound. They need split or repotted to keep growing. If I over water or over feed them, they die.

God intends for us to grow, to help others grow, & to enlarge His Kingdom.

We don’t give to earn God’s favor. We don’t give to primarily get from God-though He rewards givers with pure motives. We don’t give so people think well of us. We give because God’s love causes us to become generous. We give for His glory, His fame, and His goodness to be shed abroad.

It’s not about us or them. It’s about Him. It’s about the world encountering Christ in us. He’s what the world needs.

There’s joy in seeing other people encounter God. There’s always someone in a worse situation. That’s not to say God ignores where we are. He doesn’t. I do think at times He whispers to us, “Go help this other person. I will handle your problem.

Introspection, self pity, self focus, what about me?, look how bad it is for me, poor me,…has never solved anything. Jesus is the one we focus our eyes on and entrust with our burdens.

I can say this because I used to have pity parties. I’d even invite Jesus to come. “Jesus, don’t you see how bad this is…why me?” I love how God handles His children. His response, “Do you want my help? Or do you want to have a tantrum or pout? I will let you choose. I love you. I will be here when you are done.

God has brought great comfort in dark seasons of my life. In loss, tragedy, betrayal, sickness, etc…He never refuses comfort. He does not, however, enter into pity with me. He brings hope. Do you want help? If not, then I still love you, but I can’t force help on you.

Which leads to my last point. It’s incredible to help other people and love them. It’s a trap to aimlessly pour out. Some people don’t want help. Some people are in the situation they are in because they created it and trying to get them out will hurt them-they won’t learn from their choices. Some people want others to do for them what they need to get directly from God or for themselves. Some people are users and look for anyone they can drain dry. Some people will take what you give and throw it in the garbage. Giving, like anything else, requires wisdom.

When we do street ministry, we feed people, provide necessities, etc…we do not give cash. Many of the people, through their own confessions, have substance abuse problems. We love them. We don’t enable them. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he’s naked, clothe him. Unless God prompts you to, I wouldn’t empty my bank account to some random person and say I’m generous. God intends for seeds sown to produce a harvest for Him. God is generous and wise. Just read about the parable of the talents (Matthew 25). God intends for us to do something with what He gives. Freely you receive, freely give,~Jesus.

If you have a million dollars and you give 1 dollar to a million people, have you helped them? Versus splitting it between 10 people. God knows where you should sow to yield the greatest harvest for His Kingdom.

I’ve spent years pouring into people and situations that yielded nothing but frustration. Why? It wasn’t my field of harvest. The people I targeted to love and pour into were chosen by me, not God. And since I was raised to be a giver, I chose to give 100% to everyone. That dear friends leads to burnout and being used and abused.

Jesus had 12 disciples and chose 3 of them to be closest to Him. We think God is out fixing everyone’s messes, but He’s not. That’s not good parenting. He allows us sometimes to face the earthly consequences of what we’ve done. If we repent we are forgiven in heaven, yet there are some consequences on earth.

Where’s the joy in giving?

You see heaven invade earth!

You see God move radically in the lives of others.

You invest in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.

You imitate Jesus who came to serve, not just be served. You re-present Him to the world.

You demonstrate to the world who God is: generous, kind, compassionate, and loving.

When you partner with God there’s joy.

What we do primarily for ourselves dies with us. What we do for His Kingdom remains eternal. What can we do to partner with Jesus so He gets the greatest reward? Where does God want us to sow? How can we fix our eyes on Him and eternity not the temporary things of this world? There is joy in being a blessing to Jesus by investing in His Kingdom.

May our eyes be upward then outward. Someone needs what we carry. May we be led by the Spirit to bring Jesus the greatest reward!!!

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Be Ready & Sow Generously

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Here are some nuggets I wanted to share with you from time with God and experiences.

1. Be ready in season and out of season…to share the Gospel and do the work of ministry.

2 Timothy 4:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

It’s easy to sit idle; there is nothing wrong with rest. It’s prudent for us to be continually aware that as Ambassadors for Jesus, we can be called on at any moment to do the work of ministry. This weekend I was prepared to share worship music with a few kids. Once I got to my destination, they had me lined up to do worship at church on Sunday. If I had not been playing and worshipping in my free time, I would not have been prepared for Sunday. At any moment we can be called upon to teach, preach, exhort, rebuke, share the Gospel, pray, or minister to other people. Are we ready? Are we cultivating intimacy with God so we have something to share? We can only release what we carry and give away what we already possess.

2. We are stewards not owners….

Everything we have; money, time, talent, resources, gifts, our bodies, relationships, it all belongs to God. We are not our own but were purchased with Christ’s blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Therefore, we don’t own, we steward what is given. The parable of the talents teaches us that God cares what we do with what we are given (Matthew 25:14-30). The more faithful we are over what is given, the more is given to us. So, when people complain…God is using this person more than me or they have more opportunities than me…the key is to look at what the person did with the little that they had. Did they use it for selfish means, or did they invest it for the benefit of others? Did they take care of what and who was entrusted to them or did they abuse, neglect, or misuse what was given?

We cannot ask God to lead nations if we are unwilling to serve where we are and who is right in front of us. If we will not care for what we already have, how can God entrust us with more? This is my own conviction…how am I ministering to my coworkers, neighbors, family, people who interact with me on a daily basis. Am I pointing them to Jesus? Am I using the things God has already given for His glory?

3. We reap what we sow…

Those who sow sparingly, reap sparingly. Those who are stingy normally do not prosper. God calls selfishness sin and does not reward selfishness. In the realm of God’s Kingdom, those who give or sow into things other than themselves reap a bountiful harvest. The key to abundance is giving,~Bill and Beni Johnson. The world says the key is hoarding and self-focus. It is the opposite in God’s Kingdom.

It may seem if you are sowing or investing, that you have less than others. The truth is, the longer the sowing season, the greater the harvest. When God speaks of blessing, He speaks to the end of a thing. Some people will live lavish lives on earth and have fewer or little rewards in heaven. Yes, there will be rewards given in heaven and we will co-reign with Christ (James 1:12, Matthew 5:12, Matthew 25:21, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 22:12, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 3:12-14, Matthew 6:6)…and there are so many more Bible verses about rewards in heaven. What we do here does matter. Our earthly life also prepares us for our heavenly assignment.

God blesses us not just for our benefit, but for the benefit of every person around us. Every person has been given something from God to help other people. The Holy Spirit in us has the ability to minister, encourage, help, bless, and love others. No believer is without something to offer. The question is; will we let God live and love through us…even if it costs us greatly? Our blessings cost Jesus His life.

Luke 6:38 New King James Version (NKJV)

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Some people are waiting on breakthrough, for their dreams to come true, and they are unwilling to sow/invest into anyone else. Joyce Meyer said this once and it stuck with me, “If you want something, start sowing it.” The point isn’t to give expecting something in return. The point is that God is faithful to His word and it’s good to take the focus off ourselves and help other people. The call of every believer is to help other people and to love them. It’s not something Jesus offered as an option, it would be nice if you did this (Matthew 25:31-46).

If you want your dreams to come true, start helping others with their dreams. Don’t neglect what you need to do, but help other people. Sow and invest in others. If you want good friends, be a good friend. If you want help, be willing to help others. If you want to be treated well, treat others well. If you want to be blessed, bless others. It’s not about getting, yet if you don’t sow it…you are going to reap what you sow; those who invest nothing, reap nothing. And we always reap more than we sow. A seed produces a seemingly endless harvest. Jesus told us to treat others well, even our enemies. It doesn’t mean we run out and start doing everything for everyone. It does mean we seek to do no harm and look for ways to bless others-being led by His Spirit.

If you’re a sower and your harvest hasn’t come yet, no worries. It will come and it will be more than you sowed. And it’s crucial to know it may never come back from the person or place you sowed into. You may not even see it this side of heaven, yet our God is faithful to His word. If you haven’t sowed or invested in anyone else, I encourage you to start giving, discipling others, and investing in the spiritual growth of others…not out of obligation or to get, but to represent Jesus. He’s done so much for us, how can we refuse being good to other people? It’s for His Glory. We show the world the character of God. As we reap a harvest of blessings, we can turn that over and bless more people for His glory.

May we live in such a way that people say, “When our paths crossed, I encountered Jesus and I was blessed.” He’s amazing. Let’s keep our eyes on Him and let Him live through us…for His Glory and the blessing of others.

You are continually in my prayers…and I am not just saying that. When I pray, you’re covered. Also Jesus lives to intercede for us…so you are always covered in prayer.

Have a blessed and wonderful week. Be a blessing to others…show the world how awesome our Papa is! He overflows with love and generosity. May we let Him live through us so others are richly blessed.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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