Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Givers and Takers

Are you a giver or a taker? 

What do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples. 

► Do you freely give of your time, money, talents, and spiritual gifts to your church body or do you take of the programs of the church without offering any help?  Or even worse, your help is in the form of criticism?

► Do you sit and listen to a sermon each Sunday that took a lot of prayer, energy and hard work in expectation of what God has to say or do you sit without really listening or viewing it as a critiquing exercise? 

► Do you take for granted having a place to worship and choose to withhold your tithe or do you cheerfully give? 

► Do you give encouragement to those who need it or do you choose to be silent, even when you know someone is discouraged? 

► Do you read another person's blog and offer words of encouragement or do you read without leaving a comment 99% of the time? 

► Do you expect God to bless you without offering anything to Him in return? 

► Do take, take, take instead of give, give, give? 

These are challenging questions and yet, many of us probably fall into the taking category at some point or another. 

2 Corinthians 9:6-9 (Common English Bible) 

What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 

God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever. 

You can continue reading through verse 15 on your own, but I think that this passage is not just talking about money but our attitude in all types of giving. When you withhold blessing from others, whether that is money, time, gifts, talents, encouragement, etc., you will not receive much in return. When you are generous in these things, you will be blessed generously. 

I have heard so many television preachers use this passage in the following way, "Give to our ministry and God will increase that seed you give.  Give and you will receive all types of monetary blessings in return." To me that is coercion to get your money! I'm not talking about that. 

I do think there is a principal here. Open your heart by pouring out blessings and God has room to increase that spirit of generosity and bless you with spiritual blessings.

So again, I ask, "Are you a giver or a taker?"  Only you can answer that.  But I would encourage you today to evaluate your life and see where you can be more generous.  

♥ Perhaps you need to commit to step it up in tithing - God will bless.

♥ Maybe you need to do a better job of telling others how much you appreciate them - God will bless.

♥ It could be that you need to get up off that pew and give of your spiritual gifts - God will bless.

♥ Perhaps you need to take a moment or two and let others know how much you appreciate the time they put into their writing or blog posts - God will bless.

♥ Maybe it is taking a moment or two on Sunday morning and letting your pastor know how much you appreciate the work he put into his sermon - God will bless.

Don't be stingy with your life!  Let's live extravagantly.