Give With No Expecation

This is sometimes a difficult one for me….if you are honest, it is for you too. 

Just yesterday I was about to pull out of a parking lot. A guy was walking down the sidewalk and getting close to where I was waiting to pull my car onto the road. He was young, and seemed in a hurry, so I backed up a few feet to let him cross…smiling at him. I had had plenty of time to safely pull out before he got close, but I thought I’d be nice. This wasn’t a pedestrian right-of-way situation.

He crossed without so much as a nod. In fact, he seemed to cast a devious glance of entitlement as he sauntered slowly by… 

That rush of anger welled up inside me. Immediately I thought, what an ingrate! I didn’t have to do that… I was patient and kind, and he didn’t even thank me for it! 

OOPS. Was I? Really? Maybe not so much. 

I had to repent, and then have a little talk with myself. I went into that act thinking I’d just do it because it was nice. But, I came out of it having expected something in return.  

We are to be charitable, and selfless, even with our enemies. Altruism is however, many times, something we do for ourselves to “feel good” as much as it is due our desire to be kind and to help others.  

I was reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 6 when he said, 

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” 

Remember also that Christ willingly gave His life for us, with no guarantee of our acceptance or appreciation. He did it out of pure love. End of story.

We all encounter circumstances every day that range as small as the example I gave, to challenges of deep sacrifice.  

What will I do the next time I have the chance to give with no expectation? Will it come from the right place in my heart? I sure hope and pray so. As humans, our work on ourselves with God’s assistance is never-ending! Let us examine always our motives.

God knows our hearts, and he is merciful and giving. Let us follow in His way.

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Live For Today, Or Worry About Tomorrow?

God clearly tells us in His Word not to worry about tomorrow because it is not guaranteed. This lends itself to the idea of Carpe Diem – live for the moment!

However, He also instructs us to be wise with our money and investments and to be prepared for the future.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to properly balance these two concepts. On the one hand I feel I should enjoy life and that spending money on experiences and good times with the ones I love is usually appropriate. On the other hand, I feel that I don’t always properly save or prepare for the future.

What is the proper balance?

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It seems like some people are so wrapped up in saving for retirement that they miss life by passing on experiences with loved ones that will last a lifetime and are crucial to good relationship development. Some people don’t even tithe or give to charity in lieu of “saving for the future” or in fear of not having enough for themselves. Giving is a biblical principle and God promises that if we give, we will always have what we need.

What if today is the last day of your life? What if “saving” too much prevents you from enjoying life right here, right now? Or keeps you from freely and joyfully giving to those who are in need?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, so I decided to look at some related Scripture. I am trying to reduce my debt and start saving while still giving as much as possible AND enjoying my life right now since that is all I am guaranteed!

Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Luke 6:38 refers to giving and His promise to us when we do. “Give, and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

This is encouraging! I can attest to this as I am blessed beyond what I deserve! Give with joy, and you will always have what you need plus more to give away. Proverbs 22:9 says, “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.”

And finally, the balance. We also must be wise with our spending and our giving, for if we spend all we have, we will have none left to give. Debt removes some of our freedom, and if we are not careful we can be overtaken by it.

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20

Clearly Scripture endorses wisdom and saving for a rainy day. It also encourages us to give generously without worrying about how it may affect our future.

So, do I live for the day and help those God puts in my path or on my heart? Do I spend money and time on recreation with family and friends regularly because I am only guaranteed today? Do I sock some funds away for the future so that I have a cushion for the tough times?

My conclusion. YES, YES and YES.

Pray for God to help you find the proper balance. Put your trust in Him as you give, that He will always provide what you need with more to give away. And at the same time, enjoy your life with gusto! Work hard AND play hard! He is teaching me that it is possible to do it all and do it well.

Now, stop worrying about your future. Enjoy every moment with your loved ones. And find a place where you can give your time and resources to help those in greater need.

This will make your life RICH indeed!

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Your needs will be met through your giving…

“Your needs will be met through your giving.”

I first heard that phrase spoken by Nancy Alcorn, the founder of Mercy Ministries.  She was relaying her story – telling the details about how God pieced the puzzle together that would become such a powerful ministry to disenfranchised young women around the country. As a nonprofit organization, she had no reason to think they should give money to other ministries.  Why would they? Mercy was surviving on donations and they were precious few.

“Your needs will be met through your giving.” The words were clear. And so she gave. And Mercy Ministries gave. Yes, the nonprofit taking donations to survive donated off the top to other ministries.

And God answered. Needs were met. Not small needs, either – the millions of dollars kind of needs. Four rescue homes built in the United States, with others around the world. Lives transformed.

That phrase has stayed with me – I must’ve written it in my notes three times that day.

“Your needs will be met through your giving.”

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  Malachi 3:10

There it is. Right there in the scriptures. I’ve heard it much of my life, but have I tested the Lord? No. Have you?

I’m testing. I recently started a new business with great promise. My business model, first and foremost, is to give right off the top of my earnings. Before my investment is paid off, before I begin to turn a profit. Right from the very first paycheck, I will give. Every month I will choose a different ministry and I will tell my customers they had a hand in providing for that ministry. I have a feeling I will be amazed at what God will do through that simple act of giving. Once you have a heart that gives, you notice the joy creeping in, the song welling up, the prayers being answered.

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Think of it – he says he will “pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (!!!) How big is your life now? Think bigger. God wants to fill you up with blessing. Notice it doesn’t say “money,” although that could certainly happen. It says BLESSING. Blessing, blessing, blessing – and SO MUCH BLESSING there won’t be room to store it!

Something tells me if more of us really believed those words, we would be testing, too.

But we don’t have to believe – he says to TEST HIM. When you test someone on their statement, you are asking them to prove themselves.

Do it.

I double dog dare you.

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