Lately I’ve been thinking about something that I learned from my parents while growing up. I’ve really been struck with the fact that both of them are givers, one of those “caught not taught” ways of life. I mean I’m sure we talked about these things, but the real impact came from just watching and learning from their actions, not just what they said.
They are givers in different and similar outlets. In each of their own ways they give their time and their money and their skills away to serve others and fulfill needs around them.
My mom has the biggest, most tender heart you’ll find out there. She’s a servant to the core and willingly gives so much of her time to serve others – like spending hours baking and meticulously decorating cakes for her friends’ kids, teaching Sunday school or coordinating kids’ choir. In a pinch she’ll keep the neighbor’s kids no problem.
My mom and dad both have an eye for spotting a monetary need within a family and discerning whether or not the Lord wants to use them to meet that need.
I’ve watched them give money and make purchases for others in need countless times. It’s never been something that they’ve used to exalt themselves, but it’s just one of the ways that they walk in the Spirit and spread Jesus’ love to the world.
The way that they cheerfully and generously give has taught me so much about how to live my life and how to love others. I find myself being filled with thankfulness for this valuable fruit of the Spirit that was and is still so prevalent in my home.
It’s in direct alignment with what the Father has been showing me the last few years about what it looks like to be His daughter, belonging to Him and not an being orphan on the outside any longer.
As an orphan we have the mentality that there’s never enough to go around – love, attention, affection, money, possessions, friends, talents. We have a poverty mind set and feel that we must grasp tightly to whatever comes our way for fear that if we give it away or share it with others it might not come around again and we’ll lose it forever.
This mentality leaves us as selfish scavengers, desperate and needy.
When we come to know Jesus in a personal way and step into the family of God we become His sons and daughters, co-heirs with Jesus. We are adopted and grafted in. Everything that the Father has given Jesus is a part of our inheritance as His sons and daughters. We begin to recognize more and more as we step into this reality that there is more than enough of everything to go around.
This allows us to give without fear that we’ll end up lacking. It empowers us to celebrate others because we know that we are valuable and loved.
Obviously, the decision to give monetarily and in acts of service is between the person and God. Saying no can be the best decision that you’ll ever make sometimes. We do have to remember that we are not the saviors of the world and set up healthy boundaries according to our needs and the needs of our families.
What I’m talking about is living an abundant life and having a sons and daughters, Kingdom lifestyle where we don’t strive and grasp and compete with one another but one where we give, love and serve abundantly from our hearts.
We can only give away what we’ve received. We can only love God because He first loved us.
It takes God to love God.
We can only love others if we love ourselves. An encounter with the Father’s love will leave us wrecked and overflowing and therefore spilling out onto all we encounter.
To be able to give we must first receive for ourselves.
Father, please open our hearts to receive your love for us so that we can then in turn give it away to all we encounter in this hungry world. May we be ridiculous givers and unrelenting in our love for one another.
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8