What a wonderful God we serve. He gives us so many joys to experience as we live for Him. One of the great things we come to understand is the pleasure of acting just like He does. The more we follow the Lord, the more we learn and enjoy that God is a giver. He loves to give. It is in His being. I truly believe that giving just oozes out of our Lord. It is in His Ã¢â‚¬Å“DNA.Ã¢â‚¬Â So, by the way, as you draw closer and closer to the Lord in these amazing days we live in, is giving in your DNA, as well?
One of the fun things I have learned along the way of life is to purchase other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s meals in restaurants, drive thru windows, etc. I learned this by reading about another Christian who practiced that. I never thought the article was bragging about that man and his family. What I read about was a devoted Christian who loved to bring glory to the Lord by how he and his family behaved in public. So when I read the article, I said to myself: That is something I can do as I go about my life.
At Thanksgiving this year, we all went out to a nice restaurant to eat. So I decided to buy the meals of the people next to us. There were about eight of them. But I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just buy someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s meal; I let them know why. So when I walked up to the table, I said to them, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I bought your meals for you today. I am a Christian man, and Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, and I love to live my life that way. So I picked up your meals today.Ã¢â‚¬Â It is always funny to see peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s faces when you do that! Some are just flabbergasted and floored. Some think it is a practical joke!
This family was very thankful, but what I remember most was the young middle-school boy. Three different times he said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Thank you, sir.Ã¢â‚¬Â I meet many people in life that are not very grateful. This young man, three times, showed how appreciative he was. It was worth the total price of the check just to hear that!
A Ã¢â‚¬Å“P.S.Ã¢â‚¬Â for you right in the middle of the newsletter: As I was writing this, I went to get my mail, and I received two thank you cards from two different people who were at that table!! I have to be honest; that is very, very rare, but very, very appreciated.
I paid for a ladyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gas the other day while on a road trip. I let her know it was a blessing from Jesus. She said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is my second blessing today.Ã¢â‚¬Â I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Did you wake up today? Are you breathing right now? Do you have a job? Do your parents love you? Did someone just pay for your gas?Ã¢â‚¬Â She answered yes after each question, so I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are now up to five blessings, and I just started counting!Ã¢â‚¬Â Always remember, there are probably more blessings going on in your life than you are giving God credit for.
In Kroger one day, I bought the groceries of the lady in front of me at the checkout line. She thought it was a joke. She didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe people still did things like that. She didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to accept the blessing. That is typically just someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pride getting in the way. As we were talking, a lady walked by and said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, it is real. He bought my meal at a drive thru one time!Ã¢â‚¬Â I had no clue who that lady was, but what a moment for all of us at that grocery store.
So nice to get that email from the lesbian lady who thanked me for buying a meal for her and her friend. She told me she was enjoying Reunion and was excited to finish it.
It was fun to buy the meals of six Marines and their dates, with some kids thrown in there, in Fayetteville, NC during one of my recent trips. What a thankful group! Every single one of them stood up and walked over to thank me for the blessing. That was great to see. They all enthusiastically took a book; and lo and behold, the next morning one of the Marines and his fiancÃƒÂ©e showed up at the church where I was speaking!
I just got this email from someone that was seated at a table with others who were out celebrating a homeschool momÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 40th birthday:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In fact, not only did you bless my girlfriends and myselfÃ¢â‚¬â€encouraging us in our homeschooling, faith, and public “image”Ã¢â‚¬â€but after you left, your generosity was talked about at the restaurant. We had one of the servers come to our table to question us why in the world you were so generous with the staff and our table (perfect strangers). We were able to share that it was the love of (and for) Christ that prompted us to pray in a public setting. And it was this same love that prompted you to do what you did. The name of Jesus was circulating through that restaurant that day! And I am sure that the story of our encounter with a fellow believer at Palm Garden went home to a number of households. I know that I brought it straight home with me!!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Had a wonderful opportunity to pick up the tab for a couple in an Indian restaurant where I was enjoying a very good buffet! They were thinking about getting married, so we ended up having a tremendous conversation about biblical marriage. I had picked up their meal and then gave them some books to read. The lady said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is just like Christmas!Ã¢â‚¬Â To people who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know the Lord, it should be like Christmas whenever a Christian crosses their path.
Speaking at a church recently, the pastor said from the pulpit after I spoke, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I have been a pastor for thirty years, and I have never had anyone just say Ã¢â‚¬Ëœeverything on the table is by donation only, and if you have a need, you can take out of the donation box!Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â Why has he never heard that before? Have we really turned Christianity into getting and not giving? Into receivingÃ‚Â and not blessing? Into a race to grasp the Almighty Dollar? What example are we settingÃ‚Â for those around us?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.Ã¢â‚¬Â
2 Corinthians 9:7:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Do you also know though when you are sharing your faith that you are being a great, godly giver?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Do we look at Jesus the same way? That God gave us a free gift, and that means we can now do anything we want with our lives? That we owe Him nothing? Or do we realize that we owe Him our entire lives? Remember to take up your cross and follow Him.
Giving Jesus away is one of the great joys and responsibilities of being a Christian. As I was chatting with a gentleman on a plane flight recently, I asked him some questions. I found out that in the Mormon church, there is a head prophet with a council of 12 beneath him. And underneath them is a group of 70 men who, altogether, make up the leadership of the Mormon Church. I was speaking with one of thoseÃ‚Â 70! I was so excited. We talked the whole plane flight. It was pretty simple to poke holes in some of the false teachings of Mormonism. But a few times I was thinking in my head, I wish so and so was sitting here, and not me!Ã‚Â I have some friends that are great at witnessing to Mormons. Nope. I had prayed for the person who would be seated next to me on the plane flight. He was supposed to be sitting there, and I was supposed to be sitting there. I just needed to obey the Lord, which I did, and it worked out just fine.
So let me ask a question about giving: If God gave you a wide open door to be a giver, would you take advantage of it? If you missed that opportunity, what would you do? Would you shrug your shoulders and just go Ã¢â‚¬Ëœho hum,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ or would you repent of that missed opportunity and make the situation right?
What if God put, right in front of you, a chance to bless a ministry or a Christian doing GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work? Would you do it? What about the opportunity to blow the mind of a lost person with the generosity of your time, talent, or treasure, which you could, right then and there, bless them with? Would you do it?
Giving is really simple. We are either living selfishly or selflessly. Christians are not supposed to be chintzy in any way, shape, or form. Biblical givers are very unselfish people. By the way, is God selfish or selfless? Never forget, you are His follower; and the world sees Him through you.
Did you know you are supposed to enjoy giving? Did you know that giving is one of the great pleasures from God? Do you look for opportunities EVERY single day to be a biblical giver? If not, why not? If so, keep enjoying one of the great privileges that God has given us! Why not make it Ã¢â‚¬Å“just like ChristmasÃ¢â‚¬Â by not onlyÃ‚Â giving the gift of Jesus to the world, but by blessing the socks off of everyone around you, inside and outside the fold of Christ!
Until the nets are full,