Imagine for a moment that you are sitting on the grass beside a big group of people listening to Jesus’ teaching. You don’t want to miss one word of the stories He is telling and you are trying to understand the meaning behind them. Imagine what would go through your mind as you hear Him say: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44) or “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Luke 6:29) Words like these challenged people back then and they are still challenging us every day. They are the opposite of what seems “fair” and “right”. Another teaching that is really difficult to grasp is related to giving, and God knew it, to the point that He didn’t only command us to give, but He challenged us to do it and see the results: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ Says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi3:10) God is challenging us to give and He has told us what will happen once we do it, but still we are hesitant. Why is it so hard to give?
Have you ever heard the same concept or teaching from different sources at the same time? It is as if God is trying to get your attention and doesn’t want you to miss what He is telling you. In the past weeks God is pressing in my heart the notion that we are always sacrificing something, but sometimes we just don’t realize it. At church a competitive swimmer mentioned that many times he didn’t feel like getting up early in the morning to train, and he knew he could sleep a little longer but that would mean he would be sacrificing his goals and dreams to succeed in swimming. Every morning he would choose to sacrifice his flesh which wanted to sleep and he would get up and train. We are always making choices about what to do with our resources such as: time, money, and talents. In some cases, what we choose to do with them will have eternal significance and will make a difference while in other instances some choices will feel good for a little while and that is all the benefit we will get. Giving is difficult because it matters; it has the power to make a difference in people’s lives.
Like everything, giving gets easier the more we do it, to the point where it could become a habit. And once we are open to the Holy Spirit’s promptings showing us how to bless others, He provides us with opportunities. We seem to have exactly what others need. God has made us to be channels not mere recipients; therefore, His blessings are meant to flow through us. We are not supposed to store them, they are meant to touch all the people around us. Not only is giving a great joy, opportunity, honor, and responsibility, but it is also something that comes back to us. “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) When we give, we receive more than we could ever imagine. The more we give, the fuller our life becomes.
We need to see giving as an opportunity. We give because we have been given and because our giving makes a difference right now when it is needed.
Imagine again that while you are listening to Jesus speak, He looks directly at you and reminds you that it doesn’t matter if you give a lot or a little, what really matters is your attitude when giving… what will your answer be to His challenge?