Monday, February 9, 2009

A Heart's Stirring

I enjoy giving gifts. I take delight in doing things for others, especially if I can do it anonymously. Last year when God gave me my 'dream job' and I was employed at a Christian bookstore, my husband and I agreed that we would use my income to bless others. Each paycheck was an opportunity to be a blessing in someone elses life. I had so much fun. God always showed me a need, and He gave me the pleasure of meeting that need. What an absolute joy to be used by God in this way.

Exodus 25:2 says, "Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them." God doesn't want giving from compulsion or 'have to', but love. He desires our hearts be moved to give. This doesn't necessarily mean financial giving. It could be giving of time. It might be writing a sweet note of encouragement. It could be preparing a meal for a busy mom or a sick neighbour. Maybe it's using our gifts in some areas of ministry. Whatever it is, it shouldn't just be to fill a need or meet an obligation. It's a giving in response to a heart's stirring.

When we give, we must give cheerfully, not grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver, 2Co 9:7. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. If we respond reluctantly or because of pressure to fill a need, there is no joy accompanying our gift. It is being pried out of tight fists. I'm sure we've all experienced the unhappiness and discontent in that type of giving at one time or another. If not recently, think back to your childhood. Did you always want your sibling to have the largest piece of dessert or the last cookie? Did you want to give up your turn on the playground to welcome someone new? What about today? Do you graciously offer your turn in the check-out line to the person behind you? Are you content to work behind the scenes and let someone else receive all the accolades? What about when a phone call interrupts your day and someone shares an immediate need? What thoughts play through in your mind? Oh, your outward response might appear beautiful, but what attitude truly accompanies your words? It's hard sometimes to give without hidden motive or agenda, expecting absolutely nothing in return.

God's heart was moved by pure love to give the greatest Gift ever given. His heart was aroused with compassion for a lost and dying world. No cletched fists, His arms were stretched open, as He freely surrendered His life for our salvation. Does that alone not move your heart to give all that you have, all that you are and all that you'll ever be to Him? May He stir in all our hearts today, and every day, to respond to His prompting and give freely, because freely we have received.

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Sheryl said...

Amen, Sister!

My husband and I are looking at some things in our life that may make us more financially able to do what you are doing.

It's our desire to help others.

Thanks for your post today.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

You have such a servant's heart Joy!

God bless you,

RefreshMom said...

It's so true that it makes all the difference whether you're giving simply because you feel prompted vs persuaded. Even when we don't feel like we have much to offer, it's surprising sometimes what we can give when we try to see the opportunities appointed for us.

Laura said...

Oh, Joy. You are truly a blessing. What an inspiration you are. Thank you for your generous heart.