Carefully, he stares at the man before him. With a look of disappointment and disdain, he studies this all too familiar subject.
That face. I know I’ve seen it before. But where? I feel as though I’ve always known him, and yet there is a great distortion. There is something I cannot place, but I beg of God to know. Ah yes! I have seen this man as a youth, perhaps in the town where I lived many decades ago. Regardless, I do remember his former disposition. He had such a jovial smile and a willing spirit. His passion and surrender to Christ were so bold they could touch the heart of even the hardest soul. What has happened to him after all these years? It seems that more than just age has fallen upon him. His entire countenance now wears the scars of what seems to be a heavy heart and unfulfilled desires.
Discontentedly he jerks his eyes away from the man before him as if he cannot bear the painful sight any longer. After a moment of deafening silence, he slowly lifts his head, awaiting a word, a sound, something to solve who this mysterious figure could be. But there’s nothing. No sound. No sign. Not even the slightest movement. Only a still small voice from the Spirit within him, that seems to say, “Thou art the man.”
What? But how? How could this man be me? He looks nothing like me! Surely, You have made a mistake, Lord!
Realizing that his perplexity and disdain have come from nothing but his own reflection, he humbly falls to his knees. But, Lord, what has happened to me? Why do I look so hardened by the years? The man’s voice breaks as he bows his head in sorrow. Have I done nothing for Thee? Have I wasted it all?
Suddenly, his disposition changes. He angrily looks toward heaven with his fist clasped tightly. If only You had given me more time! And what about my abilities? You did not give me the gift of teaching or preaching! How then was I to be used? And riches? You chose not to bless me with wealth, so how could I possibly give? If this man is me, then tell me, Lord, how could things have ended differently?
The response is gracious yet stern, “I gave you everything you needed to fulfill My will for you—nothing lacked. I longed for the day when you would willingly give it all back to Me, but you chose to do with it as you pleased. I could have given you so much more, but in your own understanding you consumed it upon your own lusts.”
Dear reader, is this man you? Can you think back over years of the Lord’s blessings? Or are you still young with lots of life ahead of you to give to the Lord? How do you give to the Lord? Have you been a good steward with your time, talents, and treasures?
After my wife has diligently cooked supper, you can imagine what kind of “Mt Everest” of dishes are left. We do not own a dishwasher yet, so who do you think gets the most coveted (roll eyes here) job of cleaning all those dishes? Yes, you guessed it—me. But God has taught me in this short time of marriage that this is just one of the ways that I can be a blessing to my wife. I tell her and others, “It’s how I give.”
Paul tells us in Acts 20:35, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Let’s take a look at how we can better give God our time, talents and treasures:
- With A Heart of Passion. Second Corinthians 9:7-8 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. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” The best way you can give is with a willing and cheerful heart. After all, that is what God is after—not your money or materials, but YOUR HEART. This is why it must be completely voluntary on your part. The church is not going send you a bill. Your giving to God will be a pure reflection of your love for Him.
- With A Hand of Purpose. Mark 12:41-44 tells us, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Christ used this instance to teach His disciples a very important lesson on giving. It wasn’t about the amount that was given, but it was about the sacrifice. This widow gave all she had, placing her faith in God’s divine provision. Think about the little boy and his lunch from John 6. He gave all he had to Christ, and look what God did with it! I can assure you that your giving to God on purpose will never be in vain.
- With A Heed to Prayer. Just like every other Biblical principle, prayer is a close companion to giving. If you do not know how to give, pray. If you do not know where to give, pray. What you have to give is already His anyway (Exodus 19:5). He will direct every step, and He will provide the gift in your storehouse if He wants you to give it. Profound isn’t it? “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee” (Proverbs3:27-28).
In which of these areas could you increase the quality of your giving? Could you give more passionately? Purposefully? Prayerfully? Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase…” Give to God with an obedient heart, and watch as He makes the difference, not only in others, but in you.