Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gratitude is great, but generosity is better







Gentle readers...

I hope this time has been one of inspiration for you, as it has been for me. As you know from reading past posts, I have been overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude for all with which we have been blessed. Without the ongoing assistance of family and friends, we would have long been homeless and hungry. An "attitude of gratitude" is wonderful. But, this week my spirit was pricked with the idea that gratitude must give way to generosity.

This past Sunday, our regional elder was visiting our church. During one of his prayers, he prayed that we might allow our gratitude to compel us to generosity. How true! God doesn't simply bless us to have us hoard that which He gives. God blesses us that we may bless others, my friends.

For example, even though our funds were short it was not uncommon for people to come up to us and ask for money...$5 or $10. Now, I'm not one to just give money away. But, how odd that during this time of blessing we should have so many people asking for help? I say it was God teaching us that giving is better than receiving. And giving with gratitude for God's blessing and our ability to help is even better.

I've learned that, even though I must be wise in giving, I also must accept that it is up to God to sort out who is honest and who is a con artist. The Holy Spirit who lives inside us will teach us and lead us how to share that with which God has blessed. That's part of the Holy Spirit's job (for lack of a better word).

It never failed. God never failed. When I shared what small amount I had with others, God blessed even more! It's akin to the principle of tithing. Some would say they can't tithe or increase their offerings because the money just isn't there. I would challenge you that in honoring God by increasing your giving, even a small amount, you will find that God provides so much more than you give. I've seen it in my own life over and over again.

I'll give you an example: One Sunday we went to church with $5 in our pockets. That was all we had for groceries and gas that week; just $5. We took a step of faith and put it in the offering plate. Guess what happened next? A gentleman in our congregation turned around and handed each of us a $50 bill. That's $100, dear friends. God turned our $5 widow's mite into $100, which gave us food and gas for that week (and then some). As we continue to honor God's desire that we be generous, God blesses all the more.

I would challenge you today to find ways in which you can take the blessings of God and use them as opportunities for generosity. Not only does it honor God, but it frees your spirit to experience the wonder of a generous spirit.

Dear God, turn our hearts of gratitude to ones of generosity and in so doing bless the world around us.

CLG-B



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cindi-

"Each (person) should give what (he/she) has
decided in
(his/her) heart to give, not reluctantly or under
compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And
God is able
to make all grace abound to you, so that in all
things at
all times, having all that you need, you will
abound in
every good work." 2 Cor. 9:7-8

This means to me that if I allow it, God will
supply all my
needs, PLUS some, so that I can be His hands,
feet and body
to others, blessing them as He would have them be
blessed.


Life should be a "merry-go-round" of blessing.
We are
blessed, so we bless others, and they in turn
pass the
blessing on. The same concept was turned into a
movie (and
probably a book) called "Magnificent
Obessession". We owe
it to others to pass on the blessings we have
received, but
do not store up debts owed to us. (The original
concept
was that the doctor told anyone he blessed that
they owed
him nothing, except to bless others when they
could.) This
also was the concept behind the more recent movie
"Pay it
Forward".


Blessings,
Eileen

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only
I may finish the race
and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to
me - the task
of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts
20:24

Anonymous said...

... many have also fallen victim to dishonesty in the handling of our tithes in churches we have attended by Ministers and book keepers in churches. view smaller churches where ministers are new and the only thing coming from their lips is " You need to Tith More"
Tithing should be a personal gesture from the Heart. Look what Tithing did for Jim and Tammy Baker...It paid for, New Mansions, Clothing,Jewelry, Cars, Airconditioned Dog Houses with Leather Wallpaper, and the list goes on... when a church is spending more time Collecting Money than ministering to its community BEWARE. If Tithing is an everyday comment from a Minister--- WATCH YOUR WALLET The scripture tells us beware of theives, Mongers, and wolves in Sheeps Clothing. It Landed Jim Baker in Prison Thank you again for the Reminder of Tithing, and May Gods Peace Live in your Heart and Direct you in your Tith

TheLesRev said...

My friend,
I fully agree with you that many "minister" have manipulated congregations into emptying their pockets to fill the pockets of greed in their own suits.

But on the other hand, there are many who come to church each week and either don't put anything in the plate or very little when they certainly have the ability to do so.

Neither, though, receives judgment from me. It is not my place.

What is my place is to point the way to spiritual truth. The spiritual truth is plain. You reap what you sow. Also, that the joy of a blessing is in the giving.

Many of us receive blessings and then never, in gratitude, pay them forward. And many never receive blessings because don't step out in faith and share with they DO have with others.

It may not be money with which you are blessed. It may be time; time shared with a homebound church member; time shared to help set up the communion table; time shared to send out cards to those who are ill.

It's not always all about money. Money just happened to be my example. It's about time, talent, treasure and testimony! All are great blessings that can be offered sacrificially to God. And the principle is the same...you reap what you sow.

God is so gracious and promises to give us what we need. In response, we should be grateful and share those blessings with others.

Thank you for your comments!