God Speaks

I married a generous man, in fact, he rarely counts the cost to himself when considering helping. He doesn’t measure the hours he worked, or what he’ll do without. If he sees a need, he meets it in whatever practical way he can.

In fact, my husband lives this verse out. I never hear him tell someone he’ll pray for them, but I witness him giving what he has to offer, whether time, money, food, clothing. He gives with a good attitude, too. Like behind the scenes, he doesn’t grumble or complain or nitpick what someone does with whatever he gave. I admire him and he inspires me to be more generous.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17

 

We were discussing generosity and whether or not we could go overboard with it – like is it possible to give too much? Not so much in the sense of to one person (which can be enabling) but overall. I guess the question was, can we hurt ourselves financially by giving too much? We tossed the idea back and forth but neither of us had a great word of wisdom or idea as to whether or not there was a threshold. A percentage of income, if you will.

Without even looking for a verse or bible teaching on it, a verse found me.

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV

I got to share this verse with my husband and I hope it encouraged him as much as it did me. I believe we will all stand before God and give an account for our lives – even if we’ve accepted Jesus and have received His gracious gift of salvation. This verse assured me that we won’t be found in want as a result of being generous. It also reminded me that I’ll stand before my Creator one day and I’d rather say I gave every chance I could than to say I never gave at all. This also reminded me to give as if I was giving to Jesus and to leave the choices of the recipient between them and God – that part is none of my business.

Until next time,
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A Prayer to Share:

Dear God,
We know that we can never out give You. You have given more than we can measure or count, although we often try. Help us to be in agreement about how to give, when to give, where to give, and help us give in a way that always honors You. Thank you for all You have given us.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

My prayer right now…

Things have been a little crazy with Christmas heading at us at top speed, so many birthdays around this time of year, and our upcoming baby girl…my head has been spinning and I am feeling overwhelmed. I’ve gotten extremely caught up in the idea of giving the kids a “good” Christmas, so much so that suddenly I’m wondering if I am defining a “good” Christmas the right way.

For those of you that know me, you know we don’t do Santa, and my favorite tradition is reading about the arrival of Jesus on Christmas morning. I’ve always swung toward the religious side with my Christmas traditions, and have even sometimes been mercilessly picked on for it…but that never bothered me.

This Christmas is a little different than some of our other Christmas’ and as the holiday approaches and we are struggling to give the kids a good Christmas, I think I missed something. Sure, I tried to leave the commercial idea of Santa out. I talk with the boys about what St. Nick did many years ago, and that he wanted Jesus to get the credit. And we read the bible on Christmas morning. But even in all of that, I feel like there is a quota I must meet in gift-giving to fulfill what Christmas should be.

And I’m even struggling with the idea that the kids won’t understand receiving less…but is that true? Am I teaching them the right or wrong lessons? Am I teaching them a sense of entitlement? That no matter the cost to the people around them, they should get and have what they want? How do I teach them to be grateful for a little and not bitter because their friends got more? Or because they got more during a different holiday season?

My prayer is that God would speak to me about these lessons and how to teach them…that He would soften the hearts of my children to learn these lessons gracefully. I pray now that God would reveal to me what my actions teach my kids, not just this season, but always. I pray that instead of teaching the boys that the world owes them, that I owe them, that I would teach them to be thankful always, in times of plenty and times of want. I pray that they would be dedicated individuals with a desire to work hard. I pray that they would value stuff the right way, and not put stuff above family, or other people. I pray earnestly for the peace and strength to walk through these lessons, and the focus to keep my eyes on Jesus and all that I have to be thankful for, too.