Thursday, April 20, 2006
Your Level of Living Depends on Your Level of Giving
Conventional wisdom says that your life will be better if you keep everything you have for yourself. However, God clearly says that your life will be better if you work to make another person's life better.
In Galatians 6:7-9, Paul writes, Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
In other words, what you give to others will affect how they give to you; the amount of love, patience, and kindness that you show to others will affect the amount that they show to you. This principle of giving and receiving applies to many areas of life. For example, if you invest an hour a day into exercising, then you will reap the benefits of that investment—a strong, healthy body. However, if you invest that same time into flipping channels on T.V., then you will reap the benefits of that investment—a wasted hour.
Paul isn't just talking about money or time; in fact, he is focusing on giving into the lives of others. In the very next verse, Galatians 6:10, Paul instructs believers: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. If you "do good" to others by giving into their lives, then you will benefit.
So, if you don't feel like you're getting the love you should get, then maybe you should ask yourself if you're giving the love you should give. Why? Because you reap what you sow. If you give love, you'll receive love. If you give friendship, you'll receive friendship. If you give mercy, you'll receive mercy. (It is important to note that you may not always receive from the same place you give.)
Therefore, decide to give freely to others, actively look for ways to be a blessing to other people, and deliberately go out of your way to walk in love. Then, watch as the benefits of that giving affect your life. Remember, your level of living depends on your level of giving.
Pain is God's megaphone.
When life is going well, it can be easy to forget God. So, sometimes God will use painful circumstances -- difficulties, trials, and troubles -- to get our attention and remind us of our need for Him.
In James 1:2-4, we are instructed to rejoice in trials: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Why are trials good for us? Because they make us more mature -- that is, closer to God. So, when you feel the pain of life know that God is with you.