Storing Up

Hoarding_living_room

 

Unselfish, humble, giving hearts. That is what God wants of those who are His own. How do I know this? Because that is His nature. Survival does not require hoarding and there is much more to being blessed than the accumulation of things. Let’s take a look at Luke 12:13-21

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What Do You Have To Offer?

Another Friday comes.  Another day to practice writing by doing it and to practice living by getting out of the house and living life the best we can.

We writers, artists, singers, actors, do it out of the love of the craft and we hope to reach some people to share a bit of ourselves.  Yet, I have to admit, there are times when I start to write and all I see is the enormity of task.  When I think about writing, or recording a song, I sometimes think, “What do I have that isn’t better expressed elsewhere?”  There are thousands of better blogs out there and at least as many, who are better song writers and singers.  Really!  What do I have to offer?

The same feelings of inadequacy pop up at work too.  Large, important projects with deadlines and others counting on me to deliver greatness.  Sometimes I think, “Who am I that I am entrusted with such a task?  How will I accomplish so much with so little to offer?

John offers us some answers in his Gospel.  in John 6: 5-9Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”  But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.  Philip answered Him,  ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.’  One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

But what do I have?  What did the boy in this story have?  Just a few small loaves of bread and some fish.  Barely enough for himself, much less enough to feed several thousand.

Maybe we don’t have all that much.  But guess what?  It’s not about us.  It’s not for me to worry about how many I am able to help.  It’s not for me to worry about the number of followers, or likes I get; that maybe twenty people will read this post; that when I post my music on iTunes or YouTube, five people might listen; that there are smarter, more talented people than I.

It’s just up to me to do!  It’s up to me to give what I have, no matter how small in my sight, I still have to offer it up.  It really wasn’t mine in the first place anyhow.  God gave me what talents I have.

My life experiences are now for others to learn from.  They don’t belong to me anymore.  My writing and singing voice, such as they are, come from above for outward expression.

God takes what we have to offer and makes it great for His glory. (click here to tweet)

Keeping our loaves and fishes is not an option.  There are multitudes to feed.  So what if only a few take a bite.  Not your concern.  The need is what confronts us.  People need us to perform at work.  Still others need us to serve at home.  While others wait for God’s voice to speak through you in word, picture, or song.

Don’t keep the bread and fish to yourself.  Look past the enormity and your inadequacy to the need.

What do you have to offer?  Will you offer it?  I hope so.  We’re hungry!

Photo Credit: Lisa Brewster, https://twitter.com/adora, Creative Commons

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Miracles of Generosity

Photo Credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, Creative Commons

In times of great need, it’s hard not to be afraid.  It’s even harder to be generous.  Today’s scripture in 2 Kings tells us about an Old Testament miracle of generosity

 

2 Kings 4: 42-44  
Then a man came from Baal Shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley bread, and newly ripened grain in his knapsack. And he said, “Give it to the people, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “What? Shall I set this before one hundred men?” He said again, “Give it to the people, that they may eat; for thus says the Lord: ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’ ” So he set it before them; and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.” (NKJV)

If you’re like me, you’ve heard the story of the feeding of the 5,000 many times.  It’s “the only miracle (apart from the resurrection) which is present in all four (of the) Gospels.”*  This miracle in 2 Kings may not be quite as impressive, but it’s still powerful.

There was a famine going on and people still gave Elisha their “firstfruits.”  They understood the importance of generosity to God.

Elisha also understood the importance of generosity to others.  He could have kept the bread for himself and his friends.  But, he chose to share what he was given.

Not only did they all eat, but they had leftovers.  God awards generosity with provision.   

We can’t afford to be stingy with God, nor with others.  If we don’t share what we have,  we may be well-off financially, but we will be poor in spirit.

Giving is a spiritual principle you can’t afford to ignore.  (tweet that)  It starts by giving first to God.  No matter what our financial status or income, God gets the firstfruits.

Giving to God first starts a chain of generosity that begins in our hearts.

When we make up our minds to honor God first and turn our hearts and finances over to Him, God provides for us.  (tweet that)

Not only that, once we have become accustomed to giving, our hearts, wallets, and kitchens open up to others.  Our eyes see other’s needs and we give.  Our love outweighs our fear.  What a wonderful way to live; both for God and for others.

Don’t live in fear, give first to God and see what happens to your finances and your heart.  Not only will you have enough to give to others, but you’ll have the heart to give as well.

Be a miracle of generosity!

Sources

*. “Feeding the Multitude” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feeding_the_multitude

Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Concise)  http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/2-kings/4.html?p=2

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