Deep inside of me there is a river … bubbling with joy … an effervescence of love … bubbling right up … to eternal life. If I walk in that river … then joy comes … then more joy … then joy again! It is a wonderful river, really … a river that I really like to walk in. And that is something that I try to do each and every day. The “leader” of this river is the Lord Jesus Christ. He helps me to walk through that river.
Sometimes, I get grieved in my spirit. It is as though the leader of this river is speaking to me. “Get down on your hands and knees,” he seems to be saying. “Get down and talk to me! I want to hear your voice! I’ve been missing you all day!” Ah … and then, I do it. I get down on my hands and knees and then I begin to talk to him … slowly, but surely. And then, he speaks to me! He whispers a wonderful secret into my ear. It is so “loud” that I think almost everyone else must have heard it as well … but really, only I could. Then, I am refreshed. Then, I know that I can continue on.
Now my Lord, he is awesome. He has always been like this, and I’m sure that he will always be like this, too, for as long as I live. My Lord is great! He has never once said something to me to harm me, or to frighten me in any way. He is a genuine “giver” in the truest sense of the word. Now … may I tell you a little story about a time I bought a table? It was then that my Lord taught me a big lesson on what it meant to give, cheerfully, and gladly, from the heart. In that one experience, I learned a lot!
It was one of those days that my wife and I found a piece of furniture listed in the local Bargain Hunter newspaper. So we went to the man’s house, and he was selling a kitchen table with chairs that was exactly what we needed. This would be our first kitchen table, for my wife and I were just married at the time. When we went there, I looked at that table, and said in my heart, “That table set is worth $100.00”. Then I spoke with the man and asked him how much he would let the table set go for. “I’ll be happy to give it to you for $80.00”, the man said. And then … without asking any further money, the man offered to drive the table and chairs to our house! That was a wonderful treat … totally unexpected! What a blessing it was, indeed!
When we got there, I was bubbling with joy on the inside! I had $100.00 in my pocket (I still hadn’t paid him yet), and yet the man had said he would give it for $80.00. But inside of me, I had that bubbling joy … and so had that desire to bless the man … especially after he drove the table and chairs — and us, as well! — to our new apartment. Without even thinking about it, I handed the man $100.00 and told him to please keep the rest because we were very happy about our new purchase and wanted to bless him. He had been so kind in driving us, as well as the table set, over to our new apartment. As soon as the man left, I heard a voice inside of me, saying, “Now that’s giving!”
And I will always remember that experience, for it was then, that the Lord taught me about what it meant to give cheerfully, from the heart. For example, in that one instance,
(1) There was no compulsion to give: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
(2) I had the ability to give: “For if there be first a willing mind, [the gift] is accepted according to that [which] a man hath, and not according to that [which] he hath not.” (2 Corinthians 8:12)
(3) I desired to bless a man that demonstrated that he was worthy to receive my blessing, inasmuch as his own heart was pure in the matter of giving and receiving: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6)
In summary, then, are we giving because we feel forced to? Are we actually able to give? (Or, are we giving when we are in debt. This is NOT God’s way to get out debt though some would like you to believe it!) Finally, are we giving to those who have demonstrated a worthiness to receive our money?
May God bless you as you consider these things today.