This Thanksgiving Season reminds us of all the goodness of God poured into our lives. Luke 6:38 tells us that we need to do something with that abundance. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)
At this time of year, we hear several organizations asking for donations. Many of these borders on the edge of begging or making us feel guilty if we don’t give. However, Paul tells us, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV) Paul is talking about giving to the saints who are in need. He says that we should give with grateful, joyful hearts, and not be forced into giving or be made to feel guilty if we don’t or can’t give. And yet in our verse today, Jesus says that when we give, we are blessed according to how we give. “For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (NASB)
Now, that isn’t to say that we should give to get. Working in Christian radio and television, I’ve heard that so much from broadcast pastors. What they don’t tell you is that God also looks at the attitude of our hearts, and if we are giving with the intent of getting, in other words, selfishly, then we need an attitude adjustment. When we look at those around us who are desperately needing help, we should give as a means of showing Christian love to them, not as a means of receiving more than we give.
Gracing someone with needed supplies, or giving gifts that we know would bless them, are part of how we steward the abundance God gives to us. There are other ways to be good stewards of the resources we have been given. Not only are we to give to others, but we are also to tithe, giving to the church in helping to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. We may not be able to go to far corners of the earth to minister to others, but we can help missionaries who have been called to far-away places that we may never set foot on. Our finances help them reach lost people. In my denomination, we have several avenues to help our missionaries. Each month at a special offering, our Sunday School children collect change we have saved throughout the month and we give our change to the Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge. The funds collected go toward supplying Sunday School material to the children in far away missionary churches. Our teenagers also have a means of helping missionaries. Speed the Light is an organization that supplies vehicles for our missionaries. Our teenagers do fund-raisers to help raise money to purchase vehicles, which could be anything from a donkey to a 4-wheel drive truck. Our church also has budgeted funds to be set aside to be sent directly to the missionaries we support. We have placed these things in our church budget so that we know how much we take in and how much we are spending, being good stewards of the money God has given us.
My stepdaughter has such a loving heart. She is always giving to someone! Whether it’s food, clothes, helping at the local animal shelter, giving to the local thrift store in her area, she has such a servant’s heart, and I am so proud of her! Her mother and my husband taught her, from little on, the value of giving to others. She has received far more than she has ever given out! God has blessed her in so many ways, not necessarily monetarily, but in other ways also.
So, as we enjoy and reflect upon this Thanksgiving Season and all that God has given to us, may we also remember that we should give to others out of our abundance, not just at this time of year, but all year long. We can be a blessing to others because God has blessed us abundantly!