His story 46: Giving

We talked about how being in covenant with God means we do not live for ourselselves anymore.
That may not sound like a good deal to many of us but think about it.
Where does all the strive and even war come from?
It is because people live for themselves.
It is because they put themselves above others.
Because they deem their own wellbeing more important than that of others.
But who is going to stick up for us if we do not?
God always is.
Sometimes He might ask us to sacrifice our own comfort and desires for the sake of others.
Yet sooner or later, either in this life or in eternity, we will harvest a reward for our selfless loving.
You have to ask yourself if you are willing to make sacrifices for the sake of love and peace.
If you put your own wellbeing above that of others it will result in strive but it will also leave you empty.
It does not make sense to our natural mind but it is actually proven that selfless giving is very satisfying.
More even than having a paid job it gives joy and satisfaction and a sense of purpose and meaning when we give without expecting something in return.
(Not even expecting a “thank you” because then you still do it for what you get in return.)
We were never made to live for ourselves and provide anxiously for our own needs.
Working is good but if it is all about ourselves it will never satisfy.
God is our prime provider and even a job and the ability to work come from him.

I do have to add a warning here.
We are not supposed to carry all the burdens of everyone around us.
It is our privilege to help others when we can but we do not have to do that in our own strength.
It really requires the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who lives in every believer, to discern in what way we can help others.
You can simply ask him if you are not sure and He will show you.
Sometimes it may require a sacrifice but you have to realise that you are as valuable as other people and God is not in the (ab)using buisiness. He cares about your needs as well and if helping others is at the expense of your own health it may not be your place to help them.
Maybe you can help by finding help from others for them instead. And maybe all you can do is pray for them. And maybe you cannot do anything at all not even praying.
We have to be willing to serve and yet also be willing to release others in God’s care and be mindful that if you help them it is still because God cares for them and enables you to help.
Helping others is always supposed to be a partnership with God. We are not the Savior of the world, He is. Yet He enjoys working through and with us, but we should consider it a delight and a privilege and not a burden.
Jesus told us his yoke is easy, it is light!

Part of the covenant in the Old Testament was to give the first part of the harvest to God. (To the temple, the poor also got some of that.)
Translated to this day it would mean we give money to the church and christians (or christian organisations) because in the new covenant believers themselves are now the house of God.
It also talks about tithing in the old testament which means you give 10 percent of your income away to God. In the new covenant we are not required  to tithe since we do not live under the law which means that it is not put on us from the outside and it does not make us righteous if we obey it. However many laws still benefit us and we will have an inner desire to obey them. The new testament hardly mentions tithing specifically but it does urge us to give from what we have according to what we can give and sometimes even beyond, trusting that God provides for our own needs.
The same goes here as what I wrote above. There is a place for giving beyond what we seem to be able to spare. But we are also allowed to take care of our own needs. God is perfectly able to provide for the needs of the whole world and wants to include us in this, doing it through us. Yet we do not need to be in lack because we give to others.
Sometimes we can give away what we need or desire for ourselves but again I would say you need the direction of the Holy Spirit for what that would look like in your own life. What amount and what things does He prompt you to give?
Keep in mind that God is every person’s provider even though He might use you at times to provide for someone else’s need it still comes from him. He is their Provider and not you.
Tithing is usually a good place to start though even if in the natural it seems impossible that you can affort it. 
And of course if we truly have his heart we also give to nonbelievers. You do not ask a hungry person if they believe in God before giving them food.
The tithes were meant for God’s house but God’s house (believers) is supposed to use part of that to take care for those in need.
You may be thinking “no way I am doing that” and it is not a requirement to become a believer but it is a good way of keeping yourself from living all for you.
Also it is a good way to put your trust in God instead of yourself, since naturally speaking you might not be able to afford to give 10 percent of your income away.
However giving is like sowing seed. When seed comes up it is multiplied.
So you can expect a harvest bigger than what you sowed when you give.
It may or may not come back to you in the form of money (often it does btw!) but you can be assured that you will receive blessing because of it.
In the old testament it says that when you tithe (to God’s house) God protects you from the destroyer.
So this can influence many areas in your life.
It is basicly a guarantee for blessing!

To be continued…

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