We are made to give
To be truly blessed you must first be willing to give
One day while taking a walk on my break at work, I came across this homeless man begging for change. Immediately the thought came over me to give him $20. Within nanoseconds I came up with every excuse I could as to why this man was not worth my $20. I thought he might waste the money on drugs or alcohol or that perhaps he wasn’t homeless at all and was one of those scam artists stealing money from honest people. Or it would be better to give him food and since I did not have any I could just ignore him. None of those reasons mattered at the end of the day and I parted with the $20. As he took the money from me, I could literally feel his emotion. It was as if I had given him a million dollars or shown him the gates to heaven. As he warmly thanked me and I left him there what happened next I still have no true explanation for. Maybe it was partially because of how emotional the man got but I became extremely emotional myself to the point where I was holding back tears. In that moment the only way I could describe the feeling was that it felt like I had left planet earth and was in in heaven with God himself. I’m not a “spooky” person that speaks often about dreams, visions and such but is the only explanation I could give. As I have thought about this since that day, the explanation that comes to mind is that God was showing me what we have the potential to receive when we genuinely give from the heart, free of discrimination and the thought of having what we give returned.
But to answer your question, you can get to heaven if you keep the commandments.”18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied, “Don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, 19 honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself! 20 “I’ve always obeyed every one of them,” the youth replied. “What else must I do?”21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sadly, for he was very rich.
This concept is hard for us to take in these days. Modern North American culture is very self-centered with a focus on pushing the agenda that the substance of a man can found in the possessions he has. It is the reason why people line up for iPhones and kill each other for Jordans. Thus to go against this grain and give what we have to the poor has become almost taboo. All this blinding us the from the truth that we will carry nothing we possess in this life with us into the next when we die. In essence what Jesus told rich man was going to happen to him regardless. At the time of his death he would become separated from his riches with some else enjoying the benefits. (Matt. 6:19–21) Therefore if we cannot keep what we have for eternity, it only makes sense that what we have is meant to be given to others.
When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord — and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!
When I think back on giving that $20 to that man, I cannot help but be brought back to Christ on the cross knowing the sins of people who weren’t even born yet who would reject him. Yet he did stayed up there and gave himself for their sins. The return on that investment was raising from the dead three days later. To drive this home, he knew every mistake you would ever make and every time would doubt him and yet he still saw you as worthy enough to die for. Somehow I feel like that we who have taken on Christ must carry that same spirit towards those less fortunate and not be so quick to worry about being scammed or not getting back what we give. Firstly to allow Christ’s love to flow through us and be seen by others (Matt. 5:16). Secondly becuase when we give to those who are poor, we are literally giving to God (Prov. 19:17). Thirdly we must not forget the principle of giving. What you give is what you get (Gal. 6:7) This is not to say the only reason we give is to get back, but I genuinely believe when we give to others with a good heart (2 Cor. 9:7) we will receive something of value. Simply reading a biography on some of the powerful people on the planet such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page is proof alone that when you put in real work and give back to society, there is a great return on that investment. This goes far beyond giving others money or receiving it back. This is most definitely NOT a prosperity devotional. What I would like the prospective reader to get out of this is that we were made to be givers. Whether that be giving the gospel, a good meal, a warm bed for someone else to sleep in or a simple encouraging Facebook post, it is a principle that we were made to carry out.
My current job as an Assistant Editor came to me partially because of all the volunteer work I’ve been doing at my local church for the past ten years. I still remember the interviewer saying they remembered me because of all the work I had done as my church’s media team leader and how I was passing on my skills to those younger than me. While I do not work so hard at church in order to get back anything, it is a scriptural principle that cannot return void and certainly has resulted in unforgettable blessings for me.
We recently passed our 100 episode milestone for one of the shows I work on. It has been a blessing to work with such great people I enjoy seeing everyday and learning so much over the past 4 years and being able to give/share what I have learned to others on the media team at church.
12 So two good things happen as a result of your gifts — those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. 13 Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine. 14 And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.
2 Corinthians 9:12–14
Right now while you are reading this, instead of complaining about what you don’t have or being stuck in bad situation, start to think on what God has blessed you with. Then begin to think about how you can share that with others. Based on my past experience I can guarantee if we give with a cheerful heart to others, there is a great return on that investment. I cannot say what you will receive but based on the above scripture, but I can say it will be worth it.
If there is anything I’ve gained in sharing what I’ve learned with the various staff in the media ministry, it is that there is a true blessing in passing on what I’ve learned. Not so much just in work I’ve received indirectly as a result, but just in seeing young people take what I’ve given them and make something of themselves which results in at least a small way bettering the future of my surrounding community. I will end today’s devotion with a scripture that truly encapsulates what I’ve been trying to say:
6 But remember this — if you give little, you will get little. A farmer who plants just a few seeds will get only a small crop, but if he plants much, he will reap much. 7 Everyone must make up his own mind as to how much he should give. Don’t force anyone to give more than he really wants to, for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes. 8 God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others. 9 It is as the Scriptures say: “The godly man gives generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever.” 10 For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest.
2 Corinthians 9:6–10
The reason why God does not take those who are saved into heaven right away is so they can be true examples of what giving with a cheerful heart looks like
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