Tag Archives: giving

The Importance Of Giving

As a kid, the greatest thing about Christmas was getting presents. Now, as an adult, it’s giving them. Instead of being consumed by the anticipation of wondering what’s in the wrapped box, now there’s the anticipation of their reaction. For me, the excitement is in the waiting up until Christmas thinking about how much they’re going to love it. The feeling of getting the right gift for someone else is priceless.

Did you know that giving is good for you? Studies show that giving gifts builds your emotional heal as well as your relationships with others. “The Psychology Behind Gift Giving” by South University says, “Giving a gift is a universal way to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude, as well as strengthen bonds with others.“ It also has greater value to you if you give without expecting anything in return.

You and I were created to give. When Genesis says that we were made in the image of God, I believe that’s one of His attributes that we were given. Think about the most famous scripture in the Bible. John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world so much that He GAVE His only begotten Son” (KJV). We give gifts because God is a giver. He gave us life through creation. He gave us His Son so that we could be with Him one day. He also encourages us to follow His example of giving.

Acts 20:35 says, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive’” (AMP). This Christmas season, focus on giving more than receiving. Find someone who has no ability to return the favor of buying you a gift, a give them a gift that will bless them. You’ll get psychological and spiritual benefits, and it will help you connect with your creator. This year, discover the importance of giving.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Don’t Be Stingy


I love the story in Luke where Jesus was watching the offering box as people gave. Many people gave large amounts and people took notice. Then there was a widow woman who walked up. She grabbed two small coins and put them in the offering. Jesus exclaimed that this poor widow had given more than everyone else. Confused, the disciples wondered how. Jesus then explained that others gave out of their abundance, but she gave from her need. She didn’t find an excuse not to give because she was generous. 

God loves it when we learn to give generously. I say “learn” because for most of us, it’s not natural to be generous. We’ve worked hard for our money and value it, but that is often what makes us stingy. When we are stingy, we forget that God is our source of income. We think of ourselves as the provider and therefore want to only give when we have left over money. But if we view God as our provider, we see the money as His and are free to give it away.

Deuteronomy 15:10 says, “Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers GOD, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures” (MSG). When we give generously, it triggers God’s blessing in every area of our life. It tells God that you no longer see yourself as the source of your income, and that means He can trust you with more.

In Luke 6:38, Jesus put it this way, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” He went on to say that the same measure you use to give, will be used to give back to you. When we are generous, God is generous. You don’t have to have a lot to give a lot in God’s eyes. He can take a small gift and multiply it so there’s left overs (see the boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish). We have to get out of the scarcity mindset and into the abundant one. Give freely and spontaneously. It’s not your money anyway – it’s God’s!

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Good Deeds


I’m a proponent of paying it forward. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, it’s that you do good deeds for others, especially those who can’t pay you back. Instead of them paying you back, you ask them to do something good for someone else when they have the ability. I’ve been the recipient of many of these deeds growing up. I had never heard of the concept of paying it forward until one couple who blessed me tremendously told me I could pay them back by doing something for someone else one day.

I’ve never forgotten what they did, and have tried to be generous to others as a result. What they did was plant a seed of generosity into my life, and over time that seed has become a tree. When you think of an orange seed, it doesn’t just produce an orange. It produces a tree capable of producing many seasons of oranges that are capable themselves of many trees. Seeds are not a one for one thing. They’re a one for many thing. They take root, grow and continuously produce.

Proverbs 11:30 says, “The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life” (NLT). The writer knew about paying it forward all those centuries ago. He understood that when you bless those who can’t pay you back, you plant seeds that grow into trees and they become a tree of life. Most all of us need help at some point in our lives when we are incapable of paying it back. Don’t turn away the seeds that someone else wants to plant into your life. One day, that tree they planted will be needed to produce for someone else. 

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A Potential Harvest


A year ago, I bought several bags of seeds so I could teach my son the importance of sowing and reaping. Our garden is small and I could only plant a portion of the seeds. From the ones we planted, we got cucumbers, jalapeños, tomatoes, and a watermelon. From the ones we didn’t plant, we didn’t get anything. In fact, they’re still in their bag and haven’t produced anything. The potential is there to grow, but until they’re taken out of the bag, planted, and watered, they will only be seeds with great potential.

You and I are like those bags of seeds. As long as the seeds are in us, they only have the potential to do great things. Jesus called you and I to be sowers. We are to broadcast the seeds that are in us. They will never grow unless we disperse them and water them. We weren’t meant to just have potential. We were created to meet it and even exceed it. God can’t bless a seed that hasn’t been sown, and He can’t force us to plant. If we are willing to, He’s promised to bless it.

In Haggai 2:18-19, God said, “I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you” (NLT). God wants you to know that before you ever sow one seed, He has already blessed it. Before there is a harvest, God guarantees a blessing if we will simply do the work of a sower. He has placed potential in each one of us, but we have to be willing to let go.

People often ask me how much they should give and what they should tithe on. I offer the same response in the form of a question every time: How much do you want God to bless you? If you only want a little blessing, then give only a little. If you want a big blessing, then give a lot. “Little” and “big” are relative to each person. The widow gave two mites, but Jesus said she gave more than anyone else. God blessed the seeds she planted and we recognize her gift over 2,000 years later.

What seeds are laying dormant with potential in you? Where do you need to plant them? How much do you want God to bless you?

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Checkmate

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One of my favorite games to play is chess. I learned to play it as a young child on my dad’s chess board. I learned what moves each piece can make. I learned how to strategize and to have patience. The lessons I learned playing it have drifted over into how I live my life. I look at decisions, weigh out the consequences and make the best choice based on what I think will happen in the future as a result of it. What works in chess and life though, doesn’t always translate well to the spiritual.

If you’re unfamiliar with chess, the entire front row is comprised of pawns. There are many of them, they can only move one space at a time and have to stay on their line. I am more than willing to sacrifice them and to put them out there to try to draw out my opponent’s key players. On the other hand, I see my queen as the most valuable player. She can move in any direction and as many spaces as she likes. I do everything I can to protect her.

In life, there are many things I’m willing to sacrifice like my pawns in chess. It’s no sacrifice really. I have plenty of whatever it is and I don’t see it as a loss when I lose them. It’s the key things in my life that I try to protect. I’m not willing to sacrifice them and give them to God. When I look at Abraham, he was willing to sacrifice Isaac. He put what was most precious to him out there to be taken. It doesn’t make sense in life or in chess, but He was rewarded for being willing to.

I look at my life and wonder if I’m being too careful with things that I think matter. Am I too willing to sacrifice the things that don’t matter to me and not willing enough to sacrifice the things that do? Jesus was in the habit of asking people to sacrifice what was most important to them. He asked the disciples to give up their sources of income to follow Him. He asked the rich young ruler to give up all the possessions he held so tightly to. He honored the widow who gave all she had in the offering.

If we really want to follow Christ, it means we are going to have to put ourselves in position to face checkmate. We are going to have to make the hard sacrifices, the ones we haven’t been willing to make. In return, He promises to give us more than we could ever ask or think. It’s time each of us stopped “sacrificing” things that don’t matter and started really sacrificing what does. Only then will we get a full revelation of who He is.

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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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Living A Wrecked Life

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I have the privilege of taking teams on mission trips a couple of times a year. Before I take anyone to Haiti, I give them this warning: Your life will be wrecked. Someone inevitably asks me what that means. I tell them something happens to you when you physically become the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these. Your life, your mission, your thought process all change when you give what’s in your hand to someone who can never pay you back. There’s a feeling of satisfaction like you’ve never experienced in doing the Father’s will. There’s a joy unspeakable that comes from holding an orphan’s hand knowing you’ve just become their “blanc”.

Things you’ve done your whole life just don’t seem fulfilling anymore. It’s difficult to go back to your day to day life knowing that the things you do there have little to no eternal value. I’d rather be working in the Haitian heat doing something that matters for eternity than to sit in an air conditioned office trying to decide where I’m going to go for lunch. I can’t even wash a bug off my windshield without thinking how the people of Myan have to walk six miles for drinkable water like the water that I’m using on an insect. It’s not easy living a wrecked life, but it’s a fulfilled one.

It’s one where you give all you have for all He wants. When you allow the scales of selfishness to fall off your eyes, you suddenly see this life was never about you. It’s always been about helping others. It’s been about giving what you have. If you look closely at what God does, you’ll see that He gives (see John 3:16). I believe He expects us to do the same. He put in us a feeling of satisfaction that only comes from giving. That’s why Jesus said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” When you give yourself, your time, your prayers or your money, you open yourself to being wrecked by God’s blessings.

God has placed in each one of us the desire to live a wrecked life. For some, that only comes from being on the ground in Haiti or some other part of the world being the hands and feet of Jesus. For some, it’s giving so that those who have the need to go can go and fulfill their mission. For others, it’s praying for those who go and give. They fight the unseen battle that rages over the lost person’s soul. Each of us have our lives wrecked when we fulfill our role in fulfilling the Great Commission. When we each do our part, we’ll each hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

What’s your part in giving? If you want to have your life wrecked by God, ask Him what role He wants you to play in fulfilling the Great Commission. If it’s to go, organize a mission trip for your church and go. If you’d like to go to Haiti to work with orphans, email missions@coreluv.org. If it’s to give, find someone who is going on a trip and give towards their trip. You can also give monthly support to any full time missionary. They’d appreciate it very much. If it’s to pray, dedicate time each day to pray for those fighting on the front lines. They can feel your prayers and it gives them strength to go on. When you do your part, you give others the ability to do theirs and all of will live wrecked lives like God intended.

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