"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." Luke 6:38
"…whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Galatians 6:7
As we enter into the season of Fall, we begin to focus on stewardship. It’s a trcky subject for some folks, as they ponder- why should I give to this church or that cause… It seems everyone wants a piece of us in the fall! If you have chlidren it is the PTA, the scouts, hockey, soccer, football, band, pictures, yearbook, I could go on and on… Then there are the things we are just passionate about, maybe it is the United way, Chum, salvation army, policemens association, the military families aid, animal allies, or one of the many other wonderful things we could donate our money to help support. Finally, there is the coming winter, so we are filling our tanks with oil, winterizing our windows and furnaces, and doing some of the other fifty things we need to do before the snow flies.
And then after it is all finished– we think about giving to God & our local church..
No worries— I am not guilting you, just pointing out how it usually goes, at least how it went for me for about twenty years or so. And also, how it is the very same for many others. At least it was that way until I had nothing to give, and then an amazing thing happened in my heart. I realized I wanted to give something to God, and it hurt me inside that I had nothing or so I thought, that God would even want. I share this because it was transforming for me, I realized at that point that we should be giving to God, first and foremost because we desire to, not because it is the right thing to do, or even that we want to support our church, He wants for us more than anything to bring what it is that we have, and give it from our hearts– because of our desire and love for him.
I started with three dimes, it was all I had that particular Sunday in my pockets and in my purse, I had one and gave one to each of my children, they looked at me like I was crazy- I said just put it in the plate, we are giving all we have today to God and he will honor it some how, some way. I was actually somewhat nervous, as I was not sure how this would all work out, though I do have a lot of faith in my God. My hand shook a bit as I put the change in the plate hoping no one noticed as it was nothing really. It was at the moment the plate hit the altar, I felt an incredible peace come over me, and I actually felt a happiness that could have only come from God… I am incredibly blessed to testify—- that very day someone called and gave my family a gift of money, which ironically was about 350 times what I had put it the plate that very morning!
Please understand, I am not advocating giving because we get back, the testimony in my transforming moment -is that God will give us in more abundance than we can fathom, if we just start to give to him with the right spirit, open heart, and not for any other reason than we desire to please him– to give to "him". Remembering as well – that sometimes our gifts from God are so much better than coin or posessions, but in moments of pure joy, laughter with other people, or in that moment of giving that someone’s life becomes forever changed because of our generosity-by our listening to the Holy Spirit’s inner promptings— to give him more than we think we can, more than is comfortable, because we love him.
I heard a great quote a couple of weeks ago now, "If we take care of God’s business, God will take care of our business."
I think that sums up stewardship pretty well, when we give it may be to our church, but in our hearts it is a gift from us to God—it truly all belongs to God. God has promised more than once to us in his word that he has got our backs if we put our trust in him, our treasure, is found in him.
As you begin to consider your commitments this season, our pledges for the coming year, put God’s percentage – first —before the PTA’s, the sports, the favorite charities, before christmas gifts, and well, you get the concept here whatever is coming first, demote it to second place and….
Before anything else comes out of your check let your first thought be…I commit myself, my family, to you Lord in my offering, the very first of my earnings I give to you and you alone in worship. It is not in the amount you give, it is in the spirit of your heart as you give, that you will find your true peace, joy, and blessing.
I imagine like me, if you can embrace this thought with your whole heart today — you will find you are giving more than you ever dreamed you could, when you look back over next year. I promise you, you will have difficult moments when you make this commitment, you may have times when the car breaks down, the well runs dry, the furnace quits, or you get your hours cut at work, or lose your job altogether, land in the hospital, it’s a list a person can mentally continue endlessly. It will be in these moments that fear & wondering starts — What was I thinking? Should I not write that check this time? I am surely not going to make it this payday if I write that check to God first? In the moment of our shakiness, we must grab hold and remember the promises he has given us, God is faithful to those who place their trust in him. to coin a phrase from Nike…JUST DO IT! When you honor God first, I can faithfully testify—you will be delighted to find you actually somehow, some way, for some reason—– always seem to have more than enough, the money will show up in the mail, the right person enters your life at the right moment, or it might be the parking place closest to the door– when your hands are full.
I leave you with one of my favorite verses in the message’s translation I think it says a lot about how we should be thinking in these times we live today.
Luke 12:23-30 (The Message)
25-28"Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
29-32"What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
May God be with us as we enter our fall season, let us realize how very much we have— and how much we can give of our time, our gifts, and monies to honor God and God alone. Help us to be sensitive to your prompting in our hearts as to what we need to be giving in a world that asks so much of us, so that we may know the blessings of your joy and peace, and our cups run over with the knowledge of your favor in our lives each and every day.
Blessings To you and your family for this coming year and thank you for being faithful to what God speaks to your heart.