In the midst of my current fundraising efforts, a couple of verses have been floating around in my head. The first is II Corinthians 9:6, which says, But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
The other is the very next verse, which says, Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
I think these verses are pretty self-explanatory, and I know they've pricked my heart on more than one occasion. But this morning, as I meditated on these two verses, I realized that they aren't just talking about money. That's what we think of whenever the preacher talks about giving, especially since these verses are often used in conjunction with an offering. Not that that's a bad thing because I believe they do speak of money, but not ONLY money. How about time? Talents? Thanks? Encouragement?
Seriously, when was the last time we gave of our time or talents out of the goodness of our hearts rather than begrudgingly or of necessity (i.e. "Somebody's got to do it!)? When was the last time we spent time in thanks to God, not because we're supposed to but because it was in our heart? When was the last time we poured out encouragement to others, knowing that we were dipping into a well that was quickly running dry because we, ourselves, were discouraged?
Let him give! The Bible makes it clear that if we have something to give and don't give it, we're selfish and ungodly. God is a giver ( For God so loved the world that he gave. . .), and He expects His children to follow in His footsteps. Not because we have to, but because we get to. Not with a grumbling heart, but with a thankful one. Cheerfully. Unselfishly. Willingly. For it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
We all have gifts and talents that God has given us. Let us use those talents for the Lord, giving of ourselves unselfishly, not looking for anything in return.
We all have time, though we're quick to say that we don't. But I guarantee you we could all find a few minutes in our jam-packed days to reach out to someone else. Send a card or a text. Make a phone call. Meet for coffee. Give a hug. Do something out of the goodness of your heart to help someone who may be hurting.
We can certainly all give thanks. No matter how bad the day has been, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Salvation. Heaven. Grace. Mercy. Family. Shelter. I guarantee you once you start listing, you won't be able to stop. God is good, and we need to take the time to tell Him so, but more than that, we ought to WANT to tell Him so.
Sadly, Christians can be some of the most selfish and ungrateful people, and it shouldn't be that way. We're supposed to be reflecting Christ. We're meant to be the example to the world, not the other way around. The world should see us giving of ourselves day after day, and they should see a genuine willingness to give and joy that is associated with it.
So, I ask you, is that what they see? If not, why not?