July 8, 2011

Giving and Gaining

Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

Friend To Friend
I pretty much consider myself to have a black thumb. I like plants and genuinely try to keep plants healthy and thriving in my home, but fail at it a lot more than I succeed. Seriously. Black thumb. So when my girlfriend brought me a baby aloe plant, my heart was torn between girlfriend-gratitude and feelings of sorrow for the innocent little aloe.

A few weeks after she gave me the plant gift, my friend told me a story. She confessed that she struggles to share things. It’s just hard for her. She had two aloe plants for a long time but one day she felt a heart-nudge to give one of them to me. (Bless her heart! She obviously knows nothing of my black thumb!) Though she admittedly isn’t naturally inclined to give her things away, she said that she decided in her heart that she would give me the small aloe baby.
           
For weeks she had meant to act on that heart-nudge and give me the aloe plant, but just never got around to it. She kept forgetting. She’d think about bringing me the aloe plant when she wasn’t home or remember late at night when it was too late to run it by my house. In the back of her mind she thought that one of her plants would surely have an aloe baby offspring … reasoning that she could just give me that one instead of one of her two plants.

Finally, she remembered. She brought me the cute little healing plant and gave it to me with a smile. Yay! We threw down a happy plant-dance that morning as we shared both a cup of coffee and our hearts in friendship.

So as we sat at my kitchen table again, coffee mugs in hands, she finished her story by excitedly saying, “The most amazing thing happened this week, Gwen! When I walked past the aloe plant that I’d kept for myself, I noticed that a baby aloe plant had sprung up in the pot! It was almost like a little present from God reminding me that I can’t out-give Him. That when I trust Him and obey His nudges, He will bless me right back.”
           
I nodded and smiled. She’s so right. In the Bible God clearly calls us to be generous, and He promises to bless us when we are. God’s Word has a lot to say about the tandem between generous giving and blessings.

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice” (Psalm 112:5, NIV, emphasis mine).

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV, emphasis mine).

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9, NIV, emphasis mine).

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV).

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 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 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV).

God clearly calls His children to generous living … no matter what we have, who we are, or where we live. Even the poorest among us are called to live generously. And let’s not confuse the matter: it’s not about our bank accounts – it’s about our hearts. We are to be generous, willing to share, and rich in good deeds for the glory of God. The Scriptural promise we can stand on is that blessings will follow our generosity. When we give freely in obedience to Christ and live open-handed with all that we’ve been entrusted with, we reap beautiful life benefits.

Where does this promise and prompting find you today? Have you been nudged lately to be generous? Do you struggle to share things, both tangible and intangible?Is God calling you to serve Him somewhere with your time, treasures, or talents? Maybe the thing you need to give is forgiveness to someone or to yourself – or encouragement – or kindness. Got a family member, neighbor, or friend in need? Do something!

Generous living will look different to each of us, but we are all called to give as we live. I was blessed when my friend gave me that baby aloe plant. She was blessed too. God made sure of it. He always does. Friend, consider this truth and ask the Lord to move you missionally and to direct your giving. Today and every day live to give for the glory of God. Good will come of it. He promises … and that’s a promise you can take to the bank!

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, You are perfectly generous. I am blessed by the abundance of Your grace, mercy, love and truth. Help me to live generously and to give open-handedly just as you have with me.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
What came to your mind as you read this devotion?
What are you going to do about it?

More From The Girlfriends
If this devotion resonated with you and if you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be reworked into a picture of God's beauty, don’t miss Gwen’s book Broken Into Beautiful. Every step of transformation begins with the heart of God. Broken into Beautiful will take you there.

LOVE MUSIC? Check out Gwen's new CD, Uncluttered.The songs of Uncluttered are purposed to sweep you away from life-noise and to focus your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ.

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