August 3, 2004
Encouragement for Today

"The Great Giveaway" 
Susanne Scheppmann, Member of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team
 
Key verse:
 
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV) 
 

Devotion:

"I feel like I am shopping at my own garage sale!" I murmured to myself. Sifting through closets, I discovered long buried treasures. (Rather, treasures long forgotten.) "Were they treasures if I didn't even remember them?" I pondered. 
 
Moving day hovered over my head. In two weeks, I needed these "treasures" boxed and ready to move into a smaller home. The question begged to be answered, "What in the world am I going to do with all this stuff?"
 
As I mulled over the problem in my head, I thought of the rich young ruler in the Gospel of Mark. I remembered the Scripture, "Jesus looked at him and loved him. ' One thing you lack,' he said. 'Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth." (Mark 10:17-22) Hmmm, how do I compare to that young man? What would Christ have me do with "my stuff?" I wondered.
 
In answer to my questions, I discovered three scriptural principles for giving to others.
 
Give In! Give in to God's thoughts on material possessions. Although, our culture tells us accumulating things makes us a more valuable person, scripture tells us to, "Sell your possessions, and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." (Luke 12:33)  Author A.W. Tozer writes, "Never own anything. I do not mean that you cannot have things. I mean that you ought to get delivered from the sense of possessing them. This sense of possessing is what hinders us...understand that it is His...If it is God's you no longer need to worry about it."   
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Christ wants us to "seek our treasure in heaven." We need to give in to Jesus and seek him. Allow him to become the treasure in our life. 
 
Give Up! Jesus bids us to give up the credit when we help others. Listen to what he said, "Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven . . . But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4 NLT)
 
Give up the credit for a good deed whenever possible. Attempt to give help anonymously without anyone knowing. Remember, your Father knows!
 
Give Cheerfully! The final principle is to give and do it cheerfully. God asks us to give out of cheerful hearts. The Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 9:7 advises, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsions, for God loves a cheerful giver." 
 
We live with material abundance. We need to give because we are blessed. Besides, the Bible tells us, "When we give to the hungry, the thirsty, those in need of clothing, to anyone in need; we are really giving to Jesus." (Paraphrased Matthew 25:35-40) Do we need any more prodding than that?
 
As I finished boxing my treasures to "give in, give up, and give cheerfully" I recalled the Proverbs 31 woman. I believe she knew the three giveaway principles. "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." (Proverbs 31:20)
 
What is Jesus asking you to give in "The Great Giveaway" of life?
 

My prayer for today:
 
Lord, help me to remember that you love a cheerful giver.  Help me to loose the strings of sentimental attachment to things that are not important.  Give me a discerning heart on what I should give away and to whom.
 

Application steps:
 
Set a goal to once a month clean-out a closet, a drawer, your garage, etc. Make a list of charities and churches that could benefit from your cheerful giving.  Then give it away!
 

Reflection points
 
Do I worry about my material possessions?
 
Do I have more "stuff" than storage?
 
Who would be blessed by my giving? 
 
How would I benefit from giving some of my things away?
 
Am I a cheerful giver?
 

Power verses

In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  1 Tim. 6:19, (NIV)  
 
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4, (NIV)  
 
He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. Isaiah 33:6, (NIV)  
 
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30, (NIV)  
 
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 1 John 5:2, (NIV) 
 

Additional resources
 
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/key.html
 
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html
 
Life Management for Busy Women, by Elizabeth George
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/life.html