Tag Archives: give and it shall be given

Plant The Right Seeds

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

My son and I planted a small vegetable garden in our yard. It continues to be a source of lessons to me and him. As we were eating dinner out recently, he pulled the lemon off my drink, pulled out the seeds and said, “Here you go, Dada. We can plant these and get lemons from our garden.” At first I was impressed that he made the correlation that seeds inside of fruits and vegetables are what grow and make the plants. Then, as I thought more about it, there was a deeper truth. Only lemon seeds can produce lemons.

That’s knowledge that you and I don’t think often about. We know it as a law of nature, but not as a spiritual law. We know that if we plant watermelon seeds, we’ll grow watermelons every time. But somewhere along the line, we think we can break that law with spiritual seeds. We think we can plant seeds of discontentment and somehow reap peace. Worse yet, we think we can skip out on paying tithes and reap the benefits of giving.

The same law that causes a physical seed to reproduce itself works in the spirit realm as well. What you sow, that shall you also reap. If you want more peace in your life, sow peace into the lives of others. If you want joy, put the work in to make it happen. The great thing about seeds is that when one is planted, several are reproduced. You rarely get a one to one ratio. One kernel of corn can produce a stalk that has several ears containing hundreds of kernels each. You won’t get the benefit of multiplication until you plant the seed where no one sees it.

In Luke 6:38 Jesus said, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (NLT). He talks of giving just like a harvest from planting seeds. Whatever you plant, it’s going to be multiplied and given back to you. Make sure you plant the right seeds, cultivate the soil they’re in and your harvest will come guaranteed

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The Blessing Of Giving

  

This time of year, there’s one question that gets asked every day, “What are you getting for Christmas?” We have kids make lists of everything they want and then have them send it to Santa. Or we take them to the mall to have them sit on Santa’s knee so they can tell him in person. Somehow, we’ve taken a holiday that was about giving and have turned it into holiday about getting. What if we started asking people, “What are you giving this year?”

As I watched a friend give a Christmas party with gifts, games, food and fun to a hundred under privileged kids, the scripture that says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” came to mind. I watched her hand each child a gift they had wanted and their parents probably couldn’t afford. I think her smile was larger than any child’s because she was the one giving. That’s what this season, and I think this life is all about. Giving.

In the beginning, God gave man he breath of life. He gave us everything we need to survive. Millennia later, He gave His only begotten Son to us so that we might have eternal life. When He was born, the wise men gave Him gifts. These gifts were sacrificial. They cost these men not just their money, but their time and effort as well to deliver them. That night in Bethlehem, they learned the blessing of giving.

This season, don’t let it be about getting. Take time to enjoy the giving. Look beyond your own family and give to someone else in need. You never know what a blessing it will be to them. When you see what your obedience does for others, you will find your own blessing. Luke 6:38 says, “Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands — all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you” (GNB). This Christmas, give generously.

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The Necessity Of Generosity 

  
One of the things I look forward to each November 1st is Jimmy Kimmel showing videos of parents who told their children they ate all their Halloween candy. When the kids find out that all the candy that they got for free is gone, they freak out. Some cry, some scream in anger, and some destroy the house in anger. There are some though, who smile and say, “It’s ok.” They are generous with what was given to them.

While I laugh at the angry kids response, it’s scary to think that their reactions are mirrors of so many adults. We are rarely generous with things that have been placed in our hands. When others ask for those things, we get angry and tell them to go get their own. The truth is that everything we have has been given to us by God and He asks us to be generous with what He gives us.

If you have been given something, why wouldn’t you want to share it? Usually we don’t because of the law of scarcity. We hold tight and value something we are afraid to lose and never get back. But God works differently. If we are willing to be generous with the little He gives us, He will multiply it. That’s a hard concept for us to understand when we’ve learned to treasure things that are scarce. God’s ways are not like ours though.

In his first book, Peter reiterates the necessity of generosity. In I Peter 4:10 he wrote, “Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it” (MSG). God has been so generous with us and He expects us to be like Him. As Corrie Ten Boom warned, we shouldn’t hold tightly to the things God places in our hands because it will hurt if He has to pry our fingers open. Keep an open hand that gives and God will keep putting things in it.

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God’s Hands

I love hidden camera shows. I enjoy watching different people’s reaction to the same event. I think people are more themselves when they don’t know a camera is rolling. Usually when I think of hidden camera shows, it involves doing something funny or messes with the mind of the unsuspecting person. But I saw one recently where a guy used a hidden camera to capture how people treated him disguised as a homeless man asking for money. As you would expect, he was mainly ignored. Some told him to get a job. Then there were those who gave.

What they didn’t know was that he wasn’t homeless and that he had a surprise for them. When they gave, he thanked them, then gave them their money back and then a $20 bill on top of it. It was touching to watch their reactions when he blessed them back. One lady asked, “Why?” He looked at her, smiled and said, “Because you deserve it.” She quickly replied, “No I don’t.” He insisted she take it because he wanted to help out the givers.

It reminded me of Proverbs 3:27. It says, “Never walk away from someone who needs help; your hand is God’s hand for that person (MSG).” I couldn’t help but to think of not just homeless people who have needed my help, but others who have and I walked away with the ability to help, but not the will. So many times God places people in our path to see how we will react when we think no one is watching. We forget that He always watches us and that all we have is his anyway. He’s just looking to see if we are willing to let go of what’s not even ours to give to someone who needs it more than we do.

I’ve learned to ask God each day to show me the people He puts in path that need my help. I’ve started to carry a little cash that I can give if called upon by God. I want to be prepared to be the hand of God to those people God instructs me to give to. If I never plan or prepare to give, it will never happen. If it never happens, I not only miss out on blessings, but the people who were counting on God to meet their needs can begin to lose faith. Our obedience (or disobedience) always has consequences. We can be the reason for hope in the lives of others if only we were willing to look past how things appear on the surface.

In your prayer time today, ask God to show you who needs your help. Ask Him to let you be His hands to someone in need. You may say, “But I’m one of those people in need.” There’s always someone whom you can help. There’s always someone who is worse off than you are. Be willing to be obedient and to help them and watch how God blesses you. When we give sacrificially, God is bound by a promise to open up the windows of Heaven and pour out blessings you can’t contain. Whether you have a little or a lot, it belongs to God anyway. Go be His hands today.

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Being A Go Giver

Epaphroditus is one of the lesser known people mentioned in the Bible. He was barely mentioned at the end of Philippians 2. From what Paul tells us, we can tell that he was a former soldier possibly from the Praetorian Guard. We also know that he was a believer in Christ and a big help to Paul. We don’t know how he was saved or how he ended up in Philippi, but we know that he was willing to give his time, energy and life for the sake of Christ because verse 30 said he risked his life for the work of Christ.

He is a great example of giving for each one of us. We don’t have to have a lot in the bank to give something. We can be like the widow who gave her two mites in the offering. Jesus said she gave more than all the others. We can be like the churches in the New Testament who gave to the apostles as they spread the Gospel. Without their contributions, the Early Church wouldn’t have had the ability to spread like it did. We can be like Epaphroditus who gave of his time and talents to help others.

God isn’t so much concerned with how we give as He is with us just being givers. I heard a phrase yesterday that sparked something in me. It said, “We need to be go givers instead of go getters.” The world tells us to be go getters. “Take all you can, save up your money, get rich and live in luxury.” But that’s not what Jesus said. He said, “Sell all you have, give it to the poor and come follow me.” His point was that we shouldn’t be tied to earthly wealth. We shouldn’t store up everything only to make ourselves comfortable. We should be mindful of others and store up our treasures in Heaven.

I’m not saying that saving money is bad or even having a lot of money is bad. I believe God blesses each one of us according to our abilities and willingness to give. If you want more of what you have, give it away. If you want to know what it’s like to have the windows of Heaven opened up and blessings poured out that you can’t contain, then give. Give your time, your talents, your abilities, your money or whatever God asks you to give. He is interested in our ability to trust Him for our needs rather than for us to feel self sufficient in our own abilities to accumulate wealth or to develop talent that will get us where we want to go.

One of my favorite phrases from one of my favorite hymns says, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” God’s love for us outweighs anything we could ever do to repay Him. The least we can do is to give back to Him what He has blessed us with. For Epaphroditus, that was his life in service. For the widow, it was all the money she had. For the Early Church, it was their possessions. Each of us have a choice. We can be like the rich, young ruler and walk away sad because we’d rather be a go getter or we can choose to be a go giver. We can be someone who stores up treasures in Heaven through giving. What will you give to God today?

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The Other Side of Obedience

Years ago, I made a lot of mistakes. I’m not saying I still don’t make them, but the ones I’m talking about were life altering mistakes. I’m still paying for them a decade later. I knew I was still paying for them physically, mentally and emotionally, but I hadn’t really understood how I was paying for them spiritually. Once I sought God’s forgiveness for those mistakes, that aspect was taken care of, but there was more to it than my need for forgiveness. There have been barriers that I’ve built up because of it that have caused me to limit God’s ability to bless me.

I feel like I’m a pretty blessed person as it is, but over the last few weeks, I’m realizing that God desires to bless me more than He has been. Recently, my wife and I have been working together to tear down a wall that was built years ago from those mistakes. As we pull it down brick by brick, it’s been like cracks in a dam. Blessings have been gushing out at us. We look at each other in amazement after each incident and wonder, “Could we have experienced this years ago had we tried to tear it down then?” I think the answer is yes.

God has several principles or laws in place that if we were to simply obey, we’d reap the reward on the other side. One of those laws is “give and it shall be given to you.” We’ve mainly heard this applied to the Church, but I believe it applies to anyone. If you give to others, God opens doors to bless you. I’ve heard it said, “If God can get it through you, He’ll get it to you.” I’m finding this to be true in my own life. The more we’re willing to give to others, the more God is willing to give to us. That said, giving in order to get is the wrong motivation.

When we give in order to bless, God sees our hearts and is willing to open up the windows of Heaven to pour out blessings on us. I think those blessings are intended to keep the cycle of blessing others going. If we hoard the blessings that God pours on us, then the cycle stops. We become like the man in the parable who hid his talent. What we have will be taken from us instead of us giving it freely. God trusts us with the ability to bless others, but we fail to trust Him to do His part. We’re afraid to let go because we have too little.

What I’ve found is that even my “little” can be a blessing to someone else. When I released that “little”, God released more to me. When I released that amount, He poured out more. Now we are enjoying the cycle of blessing. Just last night, my wife said, “I’m excited to see how this next blessing will take place.” God gave us a blessing yesterday and now we’re actively looking to see how we can give it away. It’s not because we’re expecting God to turn around and bless us again, but because being a blessing is so much fun. Acting on God’s behalf is the greatest blessing there is.

Our friend Mike always asks, “What has God placed in your hands?” It may not be much in your eyes, but it is a lot to someone else and even more in God’s eyes. Whatever God has given you and told you to release, let me encourage you today to be faithful to God with it. If He asks you to release it, then release it. You will be tearing down a wall that has been holding back blessings just waiting to be released because of your obedience. Look around today and be a blessing to others. You never know what’s on the other side of your obedience.

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