The Giving Heart
If I was to ask you, "What is the most famous scripture in the Bible?" Many would respond, "John 3:16." And furthermore, most people could probably quote the scripture -
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
One of the aspects of the passage that really stands out to me is that it is in this scripture that we see the heart of God - because of His Love, He Gave. What a great concept - Love Gives! Sounds so simple, right? Hum, if it is so simple, why do so many people struggle with the concept of Giving?
Lately, the Lord has been stirring in me some thoughts regarding how self-centered & self-focused our society has become. I don't know about you, but there is part of this consumeristic mindset that our society is in that I enjoy. I like knowing that most successful businesses are customer focused, and work hard at training their employees to make the customer feel good and have a great experience with their company. I like being able to take something back to the store that I don't need, or doesn't work. It makes me feel like I'm in control and my needs are really important.
But have we brought that same perspective into our walk with the Lord? Has the focus of our Faith been all about our Comfort? If there is one thing I know about us Americans is that we love to be Comfortable! We are not good at being in places where were are not comfortable! Thank God for hotel ratings that are easily accessed online now! I think back to the days before Yelp & Google, and the times we checked in to a hotel, and then right back out again because the room wasn't adequate!
Have we become a people who are simply all about Convenience & Self-gratification, where we are the centerpiece of our World? Lord, help us!
As I look around at our society, it seems to me all the self-centeredness is producing is misery! I ran across this quote by Joyce Meyer the other day that really spoke to me, "If selfishness is the key to being miserable, then selflessness must be the key to being Happy!"
I believe that living our life with a heart of Giving combats the urge to be Selfish. Giving causes us to be Externally focused, instead of Internally. When I can look beyond my own needs, and see the needs of others around me, it helps keep my life in the proper Kingdom perspective.
My granddaughter, Hadley, wanted to ride in with me to church on a Sunday morning after spending the night with Gigi & Papa. I told her that there is a couple in our church that I pickup on the way to church, and that it was something I had done for years. She quickly began to do what most 8 year olds do and ask the Why's. After several Whys from Hadley and me finding the proper response, I finally told her, "This is just what we do." That response resonated with me all the way to the church that morning - That is just what we do - in other words, we have always tried to live our life being Others-focused, instead of Me-focused.
I want to encourage you today, to guard your heart from the ways of the world. Look for ways you can give. It may be giving of your Time, or even giving of your Talents, or possible giving of your Treasure (finances). Be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you.
So what is the Holy Spirit speaking to you? I would encourage you to take three minutes and write down what He is stirring in you today, and then be bold enough to act on it!
Here are some great scriptures to meditate on
1 Peter 4:10 - “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (NLT)
Philippians 2:3-5 - “Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had." (NLT)
1 John 3:16-19 - “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” (NLT)
Proverbs 11:25 - “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." (NIV)