Sunday, March 14, 2010

It Should Hurt When You Give

It Should Hurt When You Give
Feb 15, 2010
1 John 3:17 "But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"

The idea of sacrificial giving is not new to Christians, at least it should not be new. We are taught that we should offer up the sacrifice of praise. We are taught to give of our tithes and offerings to the Lord, taking precedence from the woman who put a pittance in the offering, though it was ALL she had. But we are never really taught to give sacrificially to others, at least not with our resources. We may have been encouraged to volunteer or give of our time to others, but when was the last time you sold something of value in order to give it to someone in need. I'm not condemning you; I'm guilty of the same thing. I think I know how to give sacrificially to my wife and kids but not to my neighbor or the poor person who lives across town.

In the recent weeks, we've seen great tragedy from an earthquake in Haiti; the world watched as the Haitians crawled out of the rubble. This horrific event has afforded some amazing people the opportunity to give and do great things for the people of that impoverished nation. But this outpouring of love should not have happened in the light of one great tragedy, but on a daily basis. And when people gave, did they simply skim off the top out of abundance, or did they dig deep to the point where they actually had to sacrifice a few things? This later is what the Lord instructed us, by His own example. He set the standard in the verse right before 1 John 3:17. Verse 16 says, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us and we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

If given the right moment, I would not hesitate to lay down my life for my children; it is instinctual. But is it instinctual for a Christian to give to another person to the point that it actually hurts? Is it instinctual to give sacrificially to a stranger? I've given many times to other people, but not at the expense of having to miss a meal or two. I've also received many times from others, but out of their abundance, not from their sacrifice. God desires us to give sacrificially of our material possessions to others. He set the example and has asked us all to follow suit. He wants us to be aware of other people's situations and compare it to our own. If they are in need, then he wants us to help them. If we don't help them, the love of God does not live in us.

In this economy, I don't personally know many millionaires anymore, but I do look at the kind of lifestyle people live. If they can afford granite counter tops in their kitchen, leather seats in their car, or a nice vacation across the country once a year, then they can afford to give a little more to the single mother who is striving to keep the heat on. It is sacrificial giving and it hurts, trust me. But it doesn't hurt as much as having your electricity turned off or risk losing your home to foreclosure due to medical bills. If you have more than others, that's great; allow the Lord to use it in someone else's life. They probably need it more than you AND you'll be more like Christ because of it.

The next time you're prompted to give, don't consider what extra you have sitting around. Determine to give and allow it to actually cost you something. If it doesn't hurt even just a little, you're being too selfish. Giving sometimes hurts, just look at Christ; it wasn't comfortable for Him to give His life for us on that cross. You are required to give regardless of how much money you make. Practice this now, even though you're not a millionaire. Someday you might be in the position to do amazing things for others.

1. Can you be like Christ and not give sacrificially to your fellow man?
2. How can you live your life so you are always meeting someone's need?
3. When was the last time you gave to someone sacrificially?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Ps 119:36, Jer 8:-14, Mark 12:41-44, Luke 6:38, Luke 10:25-37, Phil 2:3, James 1:27, James 4:3

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