Encouragement for Today
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Malachi 3:10, “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” (NIV)
Sacrificial giving is one of the few things with which God asks us to test Him. Yet for many years, I found myself unwilling to accept the challenge. I was willing to tithe but not willing to go beyond what I felt comfortable giving. But leaving our comfort zone is the very place God calls us to go. He wants us to venture into the sphere of truly abundant giving, and get out of our selfishness with possessions, becoming radically obedient with what we own. Then, not only will He bless us, but He will lavish blessing upon us.
I saw this firsthand when I was saving money for a new outfit. I started this “new outfit fund” because of an embarrassing situation I found myself in during a speaking event at a country club dinner. It was there that I realized not only was my outfit out of style, but white shoes must wait until after Memorial Day to be worn in some parts of the country.
After managing to save up one hundred dollars, I set a date to go shopping with my fashion-savvy friends. But just a few days before this adventure, another dear friend phoned to ask me to pray for her family’s financial situation. They were unable to pay their bills and needed one hundred dollars immediately. She had only called to ask for prayer, but God was looking for a response from me that would honor Him. I obeyed God’s prompting and gave her the money I’d saved.
On the day of my shopping trip, I have to admit I was feeling a pang of dread because I had given my money away, so I couldn’t really purchase anything. I decided to put whatever clothes they picked out for me on hold and pray that God would provide the means to return later and purchase them. But God was working in my friends’ hearts and while I was in the dressing room trying to decide which item to put on hold, my friends took everything to the checkout counter and treated me to a $700 shopping spree!
I was shocked and humbled that God had taken the little gift I’d given to my friend and returned it sevenfold through my other friends. God is aware of our humanness and our desire for instant gratification and He tends to this desire. When we give to others, not only are we blessed for eternity, but we are blessed for today as well: “So that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:19).
Don’t get me wrong, being financially generous does not always mean that you will get back in a financially generous way. But to live life that is “truly life” is to live abundantly in the here and now. This may mean receiving blessings that have a spiritual and eternal satisfaction that financial blessings could never bring. As Christmas time approaches, consider how God may be calling you to give sacrificially for His glory. Are you willing to test Him with your obedience?
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Jesus, I am so humbled that You gave Your life as a sacrifice to have a relationship with me. Help me to be willing to lay down my earthly possessions and step out of my comfort zone when it comes to giving sacrificially. I trust that Your heart is good and I believe You will return the blessing I give in such a way that I will truly live and be satisfied in You. In Your Sweet Name I pray, Amen.
- Spend some time evaluating where the bulk of your money and resources are currently going.
- Where can you cut unnecessary personal expenses this month in order to generously bless someone else (i.e. pedicures, coffee shops, shoes/clothes, makeup, a favorite indulgence)?
- Get creative in the way you teach your children about using their money. This year, perhaps you could plan several “giving” projects for your entire family to participate in to teach sacrificial and unconditional giving.
- Get radical and follow God’s tug at your heart as He leads you to give outside of your financial comfort zone.
Read 1 Timothy 6:17-19. In this country, I think we would say that most of us are “rich” and this passage applies to us. Consider the following:
- What motivates you to venture out into the area of sacrificial giving – an area for you that is a real stretch?
- Would you seriously take the challenge to step out and give? Why or why not?
- If you knew you could immediately enjoy a treasure for one day or enjoy it forever if you waited just a short while, which would you choose?
Hebrews 13:16, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NIV)
1 Chronicles 29:3, “In my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple.” (NIV)
Proverbs 10:3, “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.” (NIV)
Mark 10:21, “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.’” (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
Intimate Moments with God, by select authors
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst