Focus: Giving and receiving
Luke 6:38 (NCV) Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.
In times of economic crisis and in a period of financial stress, it’s entirely possible that ‘giving’ isn’t the first thing on your mind. When you’re depressed—your mind isn’t normally on what you can do for others, or how you can be a blessing. It’s probable your attention is riveted on how you’re going to make it through the day.
At a time like this, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that God’s ways are not like yours…which usually means that the right way to think could be the opposite of what would be your natural inclination.
So, in a nutshell—if you want to not just survive, but prosper—the thing you need to do is ‘give’…not ‘hoard’ what you have. When you release something by giving, it causes a ‘shift’. That may sound crazy to you—but it works.
It’s always good to recall the story of the woman and her son who were living in a time of famine. Almost all of this woman’s resources were gone. She had nothing but a small amount of flour and oil left. As she was about to prepare one last bit of food for herself and her son—she was approached by the prophet Elijah, who told her to feed him first.
The woman could have easily said, ‘I don’t think so’. She did comment that her meager provisions were all she had. But, Elijah persisted. He wanted her to make something for him before she fed herself and her son.
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Without further discussion, the woman obliged Elijah. It could have been her final act of obedience before she and her son starved, but things took a turn in a different direction after the woman presented her offering to Elijah.
After she let the prophet have his portion—she and her son never missed another meal.
This may be a story you’ve heard many times. It’s pretty much ‘the golden rule’. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Another way I’ve heard it stated is: ‘What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you’. We know this—but do we always do it? I wonder if the woman in our story was as familiar with this principle as we are.
When Elijah asked her—no, told her to feed him first—did she think to herself, ‘Oh, I get it—when I feed him—of course, my son and I will be fed, too…it’s the golden rule’.
We don’t know if she knew anything about ‘doing unto others’, or not. Yet, in our society even most of the heathen are familiar with this philosophy.
Something as simple as ‘giving’ could be all that is standing in the way of your receiving relief from the pressures you’ve been under.
If food is what you lack—give food and ‘food’ will come back to you. If you’re lonely—look for someone lonelier than you are and befriend them. You will have found a friend for life. If you’re concerned whether you’ll have a home in the future—open your home to others. You will always have a place to live. If your money is running out—find someone who has less than you and be a blessing in whatever way you can. If you give money to people who are in need—you will never run out of money.
God said for us to test Him in the area of giving. He said if we would give only a tenth of our money back to Him, He would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that would amount to more than we could contain.
When you look at what little you may have and consider the wisdom of giving it away—nothing in you might feel like that would be prudent. Our flesh says, ‘You’d better hold on to what you’ve got—you don’t know how bad things might get’. But, the Spirit of God says, ‘be a giver’.
Often, when people hear this message, they feel resentful. They think the person preaching it is just trying to get their money. I can’t be the judge of the motivation of some ministers—but, I know the Word of God intends for us to be generous. It encourages us to give cheerfully, not grudgingly—but for our own good.
Declaration: I will find new strength by looking for opportunities to give. I will hold on less tightly to what I have in my storehouse. By blessing others…I will be blessed.
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