I was so blessed this week by a phone call I received from a friend asking for help. The hardest kind of help to ask for, money. In a country where we have so much in abundance, that our homes can not even contain all that we store up, we in the church can be so blinded to the people around us in financial need. We feel the money we make is for our consumption or for us to stock pile for retirement so we justify not giving to the people we see in need. Oh sure we love to give at Christmas time to the children who need food or clothes. But what about the friend that has to rent a car to go out of town? What about the friend with babies or elderly who needs the AC fixed in the summer? Or the one who can't make the electric bill this month. Or someone called to the mission field who needs the whole ticket paid for. Aren't these needs? How much is to much to give? Consider this devotional from "One Year With God" ......
"Our spiritual gospel has far-reaching, material implications. It commands us to focus on eternal realities rather than temporary provisions. It calls for an increasing detachment from the things that once griped us. And one of the ways to cultivate such a focus and detachment is by a radical and voluntary meeting of needs.
The Bible commands us to share. We who have much are to notice those who have little. The implication is not that we will grudgingly give when confronted; the New Testament context implies that we will seek opportunities to give.
Why is this such an imperative in Christian fellowship? Because our fellowship is meant to reflect Jesus' kingdom. We are to be a taste of heaven on earth. We are to reflect God's glory, and His glory is displayed when He meets our needs. That means our reflection will involve meeting the needs of others. The generous God calls us to be generous. The hospitable God who will welcome us into heaven with open arms calls us to welcome others with the same spirit.
It is our divine mission, given us by the One who called us to follow Him in every area of our lives. How did Jesus display heaven? He touched and healed, fed and watered, taught and cultivated, forgave and poured out his life. His followers can do no less if we are in fact to be His followers. Share on earth as you will share in heaven. Let the hospitality of heaven define your hospitality here. Let His kingdom be demonstrated in you."
I love that I have friends that know they can call me and let me know their need. I love that I have the reputation of being a giver, wether it is to borrow my vacuum, or borrow my car, wether to ask for money, or ask help. I especially love when God gives me the ability to give when someone hasn't asked, wether it is a ticket to Bulgaria or a computer for Bible college, or paying the electric bill or giving something to someone instead of selling it to them.
Now that the economy has gotten tighter it will be easy to make even more excuses to not give. But having gone through a year of severe downsizing, and 3 months of living in Bulgaria, I will tell you, if you make some simple changes in your lifestyle you will be able not only to give but to give big. And as hard as it is to be the one giving, it is even harder to be the one receiving. Because in our culture we value self-suffientcy, we expect it from others as well as from ourselves. But the kingdom of God encourages us to be dependent on God and to be dependable for others.
So I challenge you...... 1. Look for opportunities to give 2. Ask God to show you what life changes you could make in order to give more 3. Strive to be that person others know they can depend on 4. Give big and trust God to meet your need.