Called to Give not Consume

Called to Give not Consume

Called to Give not Consume

There I was, standing on the sidewalk in front of our home, enjoying a business discussion with my daughter, when she was just a five-year-old. My daughter, McKenna, wanted to open lemonade stand in our front yard, and we chatting about her idea. Because we live in an urban area, she had seen a large number of people walking by our house going to and from the local bus stop. Thus, McKenna thought she would monopolize on the foot traffic and see if she could bring in some extra money. As my daughter shared her idea with me, I told her that, “because we live in a lower economic area I was not sure people would have the money to buy the lemonade.”

She possessed a contemplative look on her face for a few moments and then begin to articulate her feelings, “ daddy that will not be a problem, I have a lot of money in my piggy bank, I can just get my bank out and take it outside with me, and then give some money away, so people will have enough money in order to buy the lemonade.”

I was not quite sure how to respond to my daughter. To be honest, I was excited about her desire and heart to give, but her desire to share, caused me to stop and think about my heart and desire, did I feel the same and was I prepared to break open the piggybank.

It seems my feeling of keeping what is mine is not just a struggle I have, Readers Digest tells us, “…people with an income over $100,000.00 gave 2.2% of their income to charity, while people whose income was under $10,000.00 gave 5.3%.”

So, It seems giving and generosity has more to do with the size of a person’s heart than the size of their bank account.

The Scripture states in Hebrews 13:16 NLT “Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.”

So, could it be time for us to ask ourselves a few questions?

1. What does Blessing & giving look like?
2. Is it a natural part of my life?
3. If it is not natural then why not?
4. Do we find ourselves to be consumers or givers?
5. Is there just one truly right way to bless & give?
6. Are there any wrong ways?

One can explore these questions in the book of Acts, where Paul gives us a image of the essence of giving,

in Acts 2:42-47 the scripture states “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. And every day they devoted themselves together in the and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them.”

One can see we are, Called to join our lives together.

We are called to join our lives together, and in the early days of Christianity the followers of Jesus met together and sought ways to live their lives in obedient patterns of Jesus. Central to this effort was their sharing of money, homes, meals and all of life with one another.

While we live in a different time and culture than the first followers of Jesus, their way of life with one another should be encouraging and instructive for us in how we ought to live.

The interesting fact about Acts chapter two is that it does not describe and confine giving to the safety and shelter of posh seats or to the constrains of a building. The story we see in scripture describes a church that is actively involved in the lives of people.

The clear call of followers of God throughout the Bible is that we live as a people who are a blessing to others and readily design our lives around the understanding that it is God who is central and it is God who provides.

The pressures we face are as daunting as ever to be consumer. The call of the Gospel of Jesus however, is that we not be a consumer people, but a giving and blessing people.

Giving is not just about an amount of money that one gives, but giving relates to our time, energy and resources.

We must continue to ask the questions, “Who, where, when, and how are we to give?”

“ Since the days of Ponce de Leon, people have been searching for the illusive fountain of youth. With all the advancements of medical science, we still haven’t found the magic elixir — the best we can do is give a person a more youthful appearance by promoting a healthy lifestyle or by using cosmetics or cosmetic surgery. No matter what we do, we all get a day older every 24-hours. Though no one has figured out how to stop the aging process, scientists do know what causes it. According to Amy Ellis Nutt, “We age not because our cells die but because they stop dividing.” –Reader’s Digest, November 2003, p. 74

Nothing can stay the same, either it’s growing (giving of itself by dividing) or it’s deteriorating. The minute we shift into a self-preservation mode and are only concerned about our needs and ourselves we begin to deteriorate spiritually. That’s why it’s so important to give/bless others. Not only do our donations make a difference for Kingdom causes, they help keep us spiritually young and vibrant.

So how do you begin to pour the lemonade? Allow me to give four general guidelines for answering these questions:

1. Give where you are,
2. Give who you are with,
3. Give with the gifts and abilities God has given you, and
4. Be willing to give in any capacity (regardless of how “insignificant” it may appear).

And know that …”Each person should do as he has decided in his heart —not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 HCSB

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