Overflowing Love

When Jesus sent out the 70 disciples, He told them not to take anything–not even an extra change of clothes!

The early church sold all of their extra stuff (they shared everything else) and dumped the money at the apostles’ feet. 

The widow in the temple gave everything she had. 

Paul teaches us the secret of contentment: Do all things through Christ who strengthens you whether you’re broke or rich. 

We’re told to not covet in The 10 Commandments and by Jesus Himself. 

We’re told to seek The Kingdom first because God is the supplier of our every need. 

And I could keep going with examples!

I’m packing up to move and I wonder if I’m too greedy…

Am I willing to give everything away?

To share everything?

To see my life–time, giftings, possessions, and money–as simply a means to help others?

I want to say yes. I want it to be an all-the-time truth, but I struggle…

Can’t something be mine?

Here was God’s answer:

Yes, the one thing no one can take away is your relationship with Me. What else do you want?

Ouch!

God is an all-in kind of Father. He gave us everything He had. Nothing was held back from us. 

I want to be that kind of person. 

I want to be all-in. 

My life was so empty before my relationship with God. No amount of success or approval or stuff could fill the void. 

My response to His great grace is that I want to live a life stripped bare of anything that keeps me from being full of Him, of His overflowing love. 

Why giving matters

I have a friend who always has granola bars in her backpack. 

She’s generous, too. If you need a snack, just find her! 

I’m actually going to buy her a box of granola bars this weekend because she’s helped me–and many others–out this week. 

My friend’s genorisity got me thinking…

Shouldn’t all Christians be known for their generosity?

It’s in the Bible. You see passages about:

  • Hospitality
  • Giving
  • Prayer
  • Miracles
  • Healing

And all of it was done for the purposes of evangelism to the lost and edification for the body of Christ. 

Nothing was ever done for selfish ambition. 

Christians are not supposed to be stingy–in any area!

In my class on the gifts of the spirit, we’ve talked quite a bit about how none of God’s gifts are for us. 

This makes sense to me because in light of the bigger picture, it’s kind of comical to think anything is ours to begin with. 

It all belongs to Him!

Plus, Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins. He is our Redeemer and our pardon was purchased with His blood. 

How can we not give freely when He is our example?

Jesus has given us everything. 

Packing, purging, and processing

I’ve done a LOT of purging over the past 3 years, but it’s amazing how much stuff one person can accumulate.

Deciding what to keep and what to give away or sell can be tough. I wanted to share with you my technique for purging.

  1. Is this item useful?
  2. Who gave it to me?
  3. Can this thing be easily replaced, if needed?
  4. Why do I like this item so much? (If I can’t seem to shake my desire to keep it after the first 3 questions.)

Christmas is already a time when I start to sift through my possessions. Being a stingy hoarder is something I guard against vigilantly. This kind of attitude smacks of fear and ungratefulness and the highest level of selfishness.

Add to Christmas time my upcoming move (it’s a month away) and I’m about in full blown purge mode.

I only have one rule when moving: Everything must fit in my car.

I realize having a family will change this rule. The day will come soon enough, though, when another vehicle–maybe a trailer or truck–will be needed to move me. So, for now, I am sticking to my guns on this…

My bend toward minimalism is another big factor in keeping my stash of possessions at a manageable level.

We need to question what we own. It’s a telling picture of what matters most to us in life.

I’m not one of those people who rants and raves about the woes of capitalism and consumerism and how the two are intricately linked (which they really are, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing).

I just know that my value system in regards to possessions is being radically changed because of the gospel.

I also know that most people have never stopped and ask themselves critical questions on the subject either.

In light of all these things, I’ll leave you with two questions to think on:

What are the guidelines you use when purging?

What questions do you ask yourself when making a purchase?

 

 

To whom much is given

7-christmas-tree-backgroundChristmas time is here.

Gifts will be filling up living rooms across the country. Kids are writing out lists for their families. Parents are working extra shifts to pay for these gifts.

The Christmas spirit is taking over our brains as we speak.

But what about those of us who won’t have any presents under the tree?

Whose parents are working hard just to feed their families with no money left to spare?

Kids who wish for new clothes as much as they do for a new toy?

Every Christmas, these questions bombard my mind.

I can’t help but think of the verse that says, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48).

The needs are great this Christmas–as they are all throughout the year. Something about the season of giving, though, make the needs more evident.

In other words, we’re paying attention.

What can we commit to doing this year to help others?

One of the goals for this blog is to help others. That’s my aim every time I share with you. I want this community to become a place that recognizes and meets needs.

I plan on giving money to the Big Oak Ranch, a local children’s home, to buy presents for the children in their care.

If this is something you’d be interested in doing, here’s the link:

Big Oak Ranch Christmas

Let me know what you plan on doing to give back.

Remember: To whom much is given, much is required.