What is God calling you to give?
Hear me out. I know sometimes when the topic of 'giving' comes up it can get uncomfortable; people may squirm, clutch their wallets, stop reading.... you get the idea. I promise this isn't a post about tithing, at least not completely. Though I do believe in faithfully tithing! But what else? I want to spend some time thinking about other ways God may be calling us to give.
Life is busy, I get it. Everyone needs to rest and recharge. But maybe you have a little extra time you could sacrifice to help others? Or even sacrifice to spend intimately with God? There are so many opportunities to serve, in the church or in your community even! I know your stretchy pants and an episode of your favorite show probably sounds great, but what about volunteering, or spending time with a lonely neighbor, or being a listening ear to a friend? Serving is an amazing way to have fellowship, make new friends, and bless others. We don't have to worry about spreading ourselves too thin either; I can promise you that if God is calling you to pour out yourself to others He is going to be filling you right back up!
Maybe you are carrying around worries or stress or problems that God wants to help you with. He promised us that He would carry our burdens for us and help us if we just come to Him. (Psalm 55:22, Matthew 11:28-30) I know I can be guilty of trying to fix things on my own, and not asking for help; but God doesn't want it to be like that! He cares for us! Sometimes I just need the reminder to stop trying so hard on my own and to give it to Him.
What if God is calling you give financially? I said this wouldn't be a post about tithing- which you should do- and I'm sticking to that. But what if God has blessed you financially so that you can help someone in need? Maybe sponsor a teen going to a youth event, or donate to someone's mission trip, or even something as seemingly small as buying a stranger a coffee? You never know what your random act of kindness could do for some else or how much of an impact it could really make in their lives!
We are all so unique. It boggles my mind thinking of the tiny little quirks that make me, well me. I also know that God doesn't do anything without a plan or a purpose. I am excited about the thought of taking all my strengths, passions, giftings- and maybe even hangups- and applying them! Maybe God made you very organized because He wants you to help put together an event? Maybe He made you a dreamer because He wants you to do something no one else has ever thought of? Do you love to cook? Maybe there is a family in your neighborhood that could really use a home cooked meal. The possibilities are endless!! Think about it, doesn't it sound amazing to be doing exactly what you were made to do? To be using all your passions and talents, things you are already great at, to help others?! The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 always helps to motivate me in this area.
The Bible makes it clear; idols are a no-no. But it might surprise you what can be considered an idol. What are you obsessed with? Where does your time and attention go? I think anything you put before God would fall into the idol category. Your phone, social media, your kids, anything and everything really. It is easy to get sucked into the shiny, exciting things of this world, but that is a slippery -dangerous- slope my friend. Matthew 26:19-24 gives us a good guide for where our hearts should be. Maybe God is asking you to give something up. Is there anything in your life that you need to take a break from? Anything that is hindering time you could be spending in God's presence?
Don't get me wrong, you cannot work your way into Heaven or buy your way into Heaven. That is not what this is about; but I do believe in obedience and that God uses each of us to spread His love and the good news of the Gospel. Maybe start with thinking about what you love and how you can bless others by sharing that gift with them?!
I have no idea what God is putting on your heart or what actions you personally should take, but I'm sure He would tell you if you asked. Will you join me this week in prayerfully seeking God's guidance on this?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.