Weather Report From Heaven: Sunny and bright, with an abundance of light and lots of singing and rejoicing.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”- 2 Corinthians 9:6-9
Insight: Mine, mine, mine, mine – Nigel the Pelican from the movie “Finding Nemo.” When I look back at my life, I was a lot like Nigel the Pelican from Finding Nemo. I saw everything I owned as mine. In fact, like most people we think way too much about ourselves and our own interests. I have grown to call it the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I. There is little freedom or peace when you live in that mindset. One of my biggest challenges as a Christian has been my ability to see things not as my own but as God’s. I have had to work hard to overcome my fear based belief system that what I “owned” made me more secure and to give it away made me less secure. In other words, I have had to learn that my self-worth must be greater than my net worth. I have needed lots of prayers and God’s intervention to help me loosen my grip on “stuff” that I saw as mine. It is an area that is still a work in progress.
I think one of the biggest misconceptions I had is that this was somehow a zero sum game. In other words, if I had less, I lost and the one I had blessed with my giving had more, so they had won. What a terrible misconception of the Kingdom of God and how it really works! When we give out of a generous heart, we never “lose” anything, we simply “move” certain assets from their temporary status of earthly possessions to their permanent, eternal status of “storing up treasures in Heaven” as Matthew 6:20 alludes to. God’s economy is much more secure than the world’s and is not prone to sudden dips in economic output, or unexpected market shocks, or a rise in unemployment. He is the real “owner” of all wealth ever created and someday it will all return to Him.
I had to learn that when we give to bless others we simply align ourselves with the very nature of Jesus himself, who gave up everything in order that we would be made rich in Him. But more than anything, when we learn to loosen our grip on our “stuff” it helps us to be freed up from any pride we might find in earthly possessions which will ultimately be useless unless they are used to advance His kingdom. It is nice to impress others with our “stuff” and how much success we have achieved, but it much more meaningful to help others who are less fortunate out of the goodness of our hearts. 2 Corinthians 9:7 from above says “God loves a cheerful giver.” He also promises that those who “sow generously will also reap generously.”
Learning to have a loose grip on our stuff as well as on our very lives helps us to be more available, more useful in God’s Kingdom. God loves those He can trust as good stewards of His wealth and He promises to protect those who are generous towards others. Proverbs 11:25 reaffirms this: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” I have found generosity builds a peace in our heart in that we are not simply focused on how much we can accumulate, but how we can truly love the less fortunate through our giving. When my thoughts turn inwards and I focus on protecting “my stuff” the inevitable result is a feeling of anxiousness. Learning to loosen my grip helps me to be free from the perils of “affluenza” and aligns me with the power of God’s multiplicative economy.
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