Give Until It Hurts

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinithians 9:7

From the time your baby is being knit together in your womb, you are giving. Even without your consent, your body is giving blood, nutrients, space, and more to your tiny one. Compulsory giving turns into the best kind over time, though- cheerful and loving. You take care of your health because you want the best for your baby.You gladly spend “manicure money” on nursery items and spend “me time” on cuddle time. It  doesn’t even feel like sacrifice because the gift is so natural.

This is how God wants us to feel about spending time with Him and giving to Him of our tithes and talents.

Tithing has always been a way of life for me. My parents have always given at least ten percent of their income to the church and missions, and my husband has done the same from the time we were married. To me, it does not feel difficult, because I don’t even see that money as mine. I say that not to boast at all. We each have our own struggles, and it is by God’s grace that tithing is not one of mine. However, where I have been struggling lately is with giving my time. Raising 3 young children makes it very difficult for me to leave the house, much less volunteer. I have had to say “no” to so many wonderful service opportunities lately simply because I couldn’t leave my kids home alone!

I  asked God to show me new ways that I could serve Him. Disclaimer: don’t ask that question unless you want answers! Ha!

The first opportunity I was given was to  create an Operation Christmas Child box for a little one in need. It was such a blessing to teach my 4-year-old daughter about giving to others. She could not believe that a little girl had never received toys. “Even on her birthday?”  she asked. That hits home with pre-schoolers. She was suddenly delighted to shop for another and to pray for her “friend without toys in another country.” As I wonder if we have bought enough for our kids for Christmas, it certainly puts things in perspective.

We live in abundance even when we feel we lack.

OCC

Our church happened to start a 3-part series on giving right after I prayed for God’s “suggestions.” Pastor Scott Bland gave a wonderful message with the powerful statement, “Give until it hurts.” I wasn’t quite sure what would hurt. Until I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to donate my hair.

“Um, God, I can’t do that. I’ve never had short hair, it won’t look good, I’m too vain- sorry.”

“But you have been asking me what you can do while caring for your children. You can grow your hair from home.”

He got me there. I just love how God has a sense of humor!

Quite honestly, I didn’t want to do it. I made the appointment out of obligation, but through God’s mercy and grace, He softened my heart. I thought of the Locks of Love child battling cancer who would have a wig and feel pretty. I thought of my aunt who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I thought of the blessing of health that covers my family and how giving my hair was the least I could do in gratitude.

locks of love

The Lord has also shown me answered prayers for my friends. I always admired “prayer warriors” but never thought I could be one of them. Through five years of spending a lot time at home, though, I have prayed for others when I couldn’t be there with them. So often I think it is the least I can do, but really it is the best  I can do.

God doesn’t need anything from me. My salvation through Jesus is the only thing that makes me worthy. He knows, though, that through service we are blessed.

Be of good cheer- there is always a way that you can give until it hurts. And then it feels great.

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