Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lessons They Taught Me On Generous Liberal Giving_Part 3

It was the second day of shopping. My first son was driving. The previous day, we did two shops in a record time. My son is a shoot the bull’s eye shopper—go in, pick the stuff on your list and head to the cashier. Typical shopping tactics of most men. It was the same on this day. It took the joy out of shopping for me but I dared not complain, my son was becoming support-fatigued.

The last one month had been packed with several back-to-back events, and I was directly involved in organizing them. The next one was in two days. I depend heavily on my family to support me in executing every activity I commit myself to and they know I don’t do half-measures.

We picked up my second son from school on the way home. And that began a discussion between the boys on how much Mum takes on. At the end of the last event I organised, they had asked me why I had to take the lead in every event that needs to be organized. My mother responded while I was still thinking of an appropriate answer, “When God gives you a gift, you have to use it to bless others.”

“Hmm! But why does it have to be Mum all the time?” he asked his grandma.

I responded this time, emphasising that we are expected to use the gifts, skills and talents God gave us to serve others (1Peter 4:10). But I heard him loud and clear. Each time I commit myself to something, I commit my entire family, sometimes over-committing them and requiring some sacrifice on their part. So on this occasion I knew where the discussion was going, or so I thought.

As we discussed the plans for the coming days and what I would require of them, they did not ask the same question again, they simply stated, “Mum is involved in so many things.”

“I am a Proverbs 31 woman,” I chipped in. That’s who I aspire to be.

“And we are compelled to be Proverbs 31 children without a choice.”

Whoops! I caught my breath. I thought carefully before going further. “Well, whatever we do, we must do as unto God. God loves a cheerful giver, so I really pray that you will also be cheerful Proverbs 31 children. God doesn't owe any man, He will surely reward your labour of love.”

My children were learning another hard lesson on sacrificial giving of self in the service of others, this time not of their own volition, but imposed on them by their mother’s passion to go the extra mile to be a blessing to others.

As I write the concluding part of Lessons They Taught me on Liberal Generous Giving today, my sons are uppermost on my mind. Noting that as we relentlessly pursue the goal of liberal generous giving, it will come at a cost. Not only for us but also for the significant people in our lives. Therefore, they need to be on board with us so that it does not become a drudgery for them. They also need to know that the seed of the righteous shall be blessed.

Giving, cheerfully and generously with a willing heart, has to be a way of life for the Christian who understands the grace of God. The person, who understands like David, that everything we have comes from God and that his life does not consist of what he has, will be a liberal giver. We are merely giving back what He first gave us. We know that for us to dwell in the full dimension of grace, where God causes all grace to abound to us, we must be willing to abound in good works as well, which requires generous, liberal, and often sacrificial giving.

Before became King over Israel and while he was still running from Saul, David exhibited the ability to be a generous and considerate giver. In 1Sam 30, we observe that David recognized that it was God, Who gave him victory and the ability to recover all he lost without fail and with interest, he was therefore willingly to graciously share of the plunder (vs. 25). He also remembered those who ministered to his needs during his season of wandering. This is the dictate of a grateful heart—to remember your helpers.

David affirmed in 1Chronicles 29:14, that all things come from God. He and his people considered that they, who were once slaves in Egypt and in poverty, had attained such affluence that they had liberal hearts and willing spirits to give in such a noteworthy manner, because all they have was given to them by God. They acknowledged God as the Fountain of goodness. David then prayed that God will keep this generous spirit alive forever in his people with their hearts firmly set on God (vs19).

It is my earnest prayer that God will keep alive a generous, liberal and willing spirit in us and our children always.

When David, in his bid to escape from Absalom, came to Manahaim. Three chieftains took care of him and his men. Barzallai was one of them. They said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert… (2Sam 17:27-29). And they provided them with beddings, pottery and diverse kinds of food. They recognised a need and responded to it.

Another point to note is that Barzallai was an infirmed and very old man with great wealth. He considered it an honour to be of service to the King at his time of need. I learnt from him that old age or infirmities are no barriers to generous and liberal giving.

He proved that no one is too old to give, just as the young boy who willing gave his lunch of five loaves of bread and two fishes in John 6:9, proved that no one is too young to give sacrificially. This young boy gave his lunch for five thousand men to be fed with left over. I imagine that he must be one of those who went home with one of the twelve baskets left over.

The Wealthy Shunamite Woman:
She had a lifestyle of giving and hospitality. She willingly opened her door to the Prophet of God and displayed sensitivity to his needs. She went the extra mile to provide for his comfort.

She taught me to be on the lookout for those who might be in need of my support.

The Queen of Sheba:
Another wealthy woman. She blessed Solomon in his abundance. She sowed liberally the seeds of abundance into his life. And she did not return home empty-handed.

She taught me that I can be a blessing, not only to those in need but also to those who have abundance, in a way that will impact their lives.

“Those who consider God as the Giver of their abundance will dispose of it with fairness and liberality.”

The Proverbs 31 Woman:
She is very generous. She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her filled hands to the needy. She works very hard to have enough to give to others.

This is the woman I want to be. She is a woman after my heart.

Hallelujah! How blessed is the man, how blessed is the woman, who fear God, who cherish and relish His commandments. Their children shall be robust (successful) on earth. And the homes of the upright shall be blessed. Their houses brim with wealth. And a generosity that never runs dry (Ps 112. The Message paraphrased). There is a blessing and reward awaiting liberal generous givers and their children after them.

All for God’s glory:
God must receive the all the glory for all the gifts He blessed us with, including the ability to be liberal and generous, the grace to be a giver. Everything we have and everything we give, we have received from God’s generous hands, these we must give back cheerfully and with a willing heart

Dear Friends, it has been illuminating for me to share with you these lessons I am learning on generous and liberal giving. I have been given a second chance at life. By the grace of God, I want this precious gift of life to make a resounding impact on lives to the glory of God.

My charge to you:

“Make your gift of a life count by deliberately choosing to live an extraordinary life, such that the world resonates with the echo of your impact.”
(From 2014 Return of the Helper’s Conference Facebook page)

I encourage you to live an extraordinary life of generous and liberal giving that never runs dry but keeps going on and on. It is a lasting legacy that will last forever, setting up your children for God's blessings.

This piece is dedicated to my two sons who selflessly and sacrificially give their energy and time to support me to fulfil my calling and live my dreams.

Ose and Ehi, your sterling and solid qualities shall impact lives for good always, in Jesus name.

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