A Time to Give
As I was taking an empty jar out to the garbage, a neighbor stopped me and gave me several reasons I should keep the jar: “You can use it to store your facial cotton in there. At Christmas time, you can use it to give away cookies.” At her insistence, I decided to keep the jar. It sat on my kitchen counter for months. One day while I was emptying the dishwasher, I noticed the jar, and the Holy Spirit said to me, “I let go of things; I don’t cling to them.”
Suddenly, I remembered my neighbor. It was as if she had felt compelled to intervene on the jar’s behalf. Later, I found out that the advice she passed on to me has caused problems in her own life. She’s a hoarder. Hoarders take extreme measures to keep their belongings. It doesn’t matter if the belonging is an old brochure or $100 bill—the goal is to keep it.
The reasons she gave me that day for keeping the jar were all good. But the Lord was showing me that keeping something or tossing it isn’t the problem—the real problem is an issue of the heart. Am I keeping the jar or the $100 bill because I’m afraid that I won’t have it later? If so, that’s not faith.
I believe that God is resourceful. When Jesus fed the multitudes, the disciples took up twelve baskets full of leftovers (Matt. 14:20). So, where’s the balance between keeping something and giving something?
In The Power of Partnership, Andrew really goes to the heart of this matter:
“You need to live to give. Your real treasure ought to be in heaven. Anything in this natural realm is subject to problems. But when you lay up treasures in heaven, nothing can affect that.”
Everything we have comes from God. We are stewards of His blessings. But we need to seek first the kingdom of God with our giving (Matt. 6:33). After we give to God, we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us manage the rest. Then we will know when to give or when to keep it. When we put Him first, He will supernaturally take care of our needs. It’s the perfect partnership!
Giving is a grace that Christians must learn by God’s Spirit (Deut. 8:18). However, most of us have been taught wrong ideas. In some cases, we’ve learned unhealthy behaviors about how and why to give. Jeremiah 16:19 says, “Our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things” (New King James Version). The things that we learned and saw growing up—selfishness, covetousness, fear of lack, greed, hoarding, self-reliance, etc.—became a part of us, but God wants us to renew our minds with His Word.
God doesn’t want you to give what you don’t have. He wants you to prosper first: “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21, New International Version
True prosperity comes from peace in our relationship with God. That’s our real treasure. When our real treasure is the Lord, we are free to give. And when we are free to give, we are free from fear. We have a partnership with heaven.
By Citlalli Macy
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