Thursday, August 20, 2009

Giving and Receiving


"I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35

We love to give. I think God put it in our nature as another way to take care of His people. It always feels good to know that you have been His instrument in helping someone in need. Also, we know from Scripture that God intends for us to be generous and willing to share what He has blessed us with. We see in Acts 2 that Christians had all things in common, sold their possessions, and distributed to all, as they had need. (Keep in mind, this was a voluntary act of love, not a socialist government control.) Then they continued daily in one accord, breaking bread together with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all people. Because of this giving, loving attitude, God was pleased to add to the church daily.
We also see in 1 John 3 that if we have worldy goods and see a brother in need, but turn our compassion away from him that the love of God does not dwell in us. Therefore I believe when God's love dwells in us, so does a love for giving. Giving is an easy, enjoyable thing to do.
What can be hard sometimes is being on the receiving end. How do we receive gifts when we know and realize that people are loving us and making large sacrifices because of that love. Even though we are very appreciative, it can be hard to receive the gift. It is definitely humbling! I say this because we have recently been on the receiving end of many gifts on William's behalf. We are definitely appreciative and overwhelmed with humility. Family members have been very generous to us, as well as individual friends. But I think what has touched me most is our church family. Now, I must tell you something about our church. We do not attend a large congregation. We attend a small gathering of 8 families - large families that love children. We do not collect a "tithe," but all giving decisions are made by the head of each home. We do believe in giving, but since we do not have debt and there is no need of a storehouse, each family gives at their own discretion. Now, I mentioned long ago that we rent a van to go on vacation. We've had many issues with our 1998 van and do not trust it on a long trip. This is a pretty sizeable expense. Our dear church family decided they did not want us to have to worry about this expense on our trip to Mayo, but wanted us to be free to focus on William and his needs. They collectively put in to rent our van for us, in full. This was a sacrifice of love. We have families that have been without AC this summer, vehicle trouble, water line troubles, appliance troubles, some that are self-employed in the midst of hard economic times, etc., yet they lovingly sacrificed to be able to give abundantly for William. What better exemplifies the love of Christ than dying to ourselves?
I tell this story for two reasons. One, to express our deep gratitude and love for the members of our church, and two, to appeal to each of you that if you do not already have one, find a church body to be a part of. If you are looking, keep in mind that church is not a place to go to hear a message that will make you "feel good." It should be a place where the whole truth of the Bible is preached, where change is brought about in our lives as we draw nearer to God, where we are loved in spite of our faults, and also held accountable to each other and challenging each other to live for the glory of God. May you be blessed to be part of the church of God.

"So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Romans 12:5

2 comments:

  1. What a blessing for your family. It truly is better to give than to receive! It is always important to remember that church is not a building, but the community of Christians that reach out and care for others. May you all continue to encourage and strengthen each other!

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  2. Arizona ConnectionAugust 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM

    Joshalyn, what a meaningful expression of gratitude and humility. It is important to gather together in the Lords name and help one another "get through life". Thank you for sharing your heart felt words. The families you have acknowledged are indeed special. The Lord never stops giving, oh how he loves us.
    God Bless,
    Jill A

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I don't publish comments. I'm not good at checking them. :) You may email me directly at Joshalyn@rightpathridingacademy.org.