I was very proud of my family this weekend. In the morning, before going to church, the three older children received a dollar each for allowance, plus a quarter to “give to God.” Their parents want to start teaching them about tithing.
“I want to give everything to God!” said Brianna. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, she is very much geared towards the things of God. Her dad told her that if she did it with a cheerful heart she would reap God’s blessings. Very true!
2 Corinthians 9:6
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
I remember one time as a teenager, when we had a missionary visit our church, and I was compelled to give “everything” in the offering. I emptied all I had in my wallet. I’ve done similar things a few times in my life, and it feels good.
But generosity with money is just a small matter compared to all other areas in which we need to “give everything” to the Lord.
What about obedience?
Today I’m battling an issue of a letter I have been prompted to write that could “get me in trouble” if the point I’m making is not well taken. I’ve written the letter. I’m going to pray about it for a few days (hoping the matter will fade away). If the urge remains strong, I’ll have to send it. That’s were unconditional obedience comes in.
What about forgiveness?
You either do it or you don’t! You forgive and you forget. Sometimes that can be the hardest thing of all. How much easier it is to empty your wallet than to empty your heart of hatred and bitterness. Because unforgiveness is just that: hatred and bitterness stored up. And it can consume you! And it can bring with it all kinds of physical problems. Give all of that garbage to the Lord. You’ll feel a million pounds lighter!
What about talents?
Offer your talents and abilities to God. He’s the one that gave them to you in the first place. Use them to help others and to further the Kingdom. Writing this blog and all the ones in Spanish is one way to offer my talents to God. And most of the times, as I push the “Publish” button on the blog-site, I will say, “Jesus, I offer this blog to you. Use my feeble writings to bless someone!” I am well aware that there are MANY people out there that do a much better job, but I do my best for Jesus and don’t worry about all the wonderful things others do. I’m going to give an account for the use of the talents God has given me, not for what he gave Peter or Susan! I am happy to give ALL my talents to God, and I hope I’m doing it! What about you?
What about our time?
Time is our most precious commodity and we have all been given the same share of it: 24/7! Time is probably what we waste the most. And I’m not talking about sitting in front of the tube, fixated on a movie or a game, when we could be doing a million constructive things. “Do something constructive with your mind,” my daughter tells David when he has played too long on his DS. I’m thinking about wasting time on stress, running here and there, trying to be in five places at the same time. Giving God our time is asking him to “direct our path.”
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
God is the Super-Organizer! You don’t even have to look around you to see that. Just take a look at yourself! Everything God made is perfect and it was in perfect order when delivered to us. We’re the ones that mess up and turned the world upside down. Give God your time and ask him to help you set your schedule and organize your disorganized existence. If you’re organized, praise the Lord! Then you have more time to offer to God!
What about our thoughts?
How many thoughts run through our minds every day? One source says we have between 2500 and 3500 a day. Can that be true? Some have 1500! Are they less intelligent? No! It means they’re more focused. I know where to best focus all our thoughts. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus” (3:1).
- whatever is TRUE
- whatever is NOBLE
- whatever is RIGHT
- whatever is PURE
- whatever is LOVELY
- whatever is ADMIRABLE
- if anything is EXCELLENT
- if anything is PRAISEWORTHY
Think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
What about attitude?
When things go wrong and my grandchildren start crying, their dad will tell them, “Suck it up, dry it up, and go on with life!” That’s good to learn as a kid because many, many times we have to do just that. We just suck it up and go on. Sometimes he will ask them if they need an attitude adjustment. Don’t tell him, but at times he needs an adjustment. Don’t we all?!
If you give everything to God: the good and the bad, the fun and the sad, the right and the wrong… I would go on, rhyming wrong with song, but you get the point.
God is not only the great organizer; he is also the perfect attitude adjustor. Here’s the key to keeping a good attitude:
2 Timothy 1:7
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
God gives us the power to smile through tears; his love engulfs us so we can keep a song in our heart even when it’s bleeding. How? With self-discipline! That might be the hardest part. That’s what my grandchildren are learning. It takes self-discipline to suck it up, dry it up, and go on with life.
I know the kind of attitude we need. The apostle Paul wrote about it to the Philippians: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (2:5). Read about it in Philippians 2:6-11.
What about… Yes, what about it?
You fill in the blank. You know what you need to surrender to Jesus. “I surrender all” we sang at the Women’s Conference two weeks ago. I love that song, but do I really surrender?
What about the burdens?
Isn’t that what sometimes is the hardest to give to God? Putting ten dollars in the offering plate is nothing compared to letting go of ten ounces of worry! Why do we carry such heavy luggage when the promise in the Book is “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)? Give EVERYTHING to God. He is more than happy to carry your burdens.
Imagine you’re with Jesus and his disciples, sitting on fresh, green grass on a mountainside overlooking a peaceful landscape. The sky is blue, some birds are singing in the trees. The lilies are glowing in the meadows. The sun shines brightly on your somewhat worried brow. His voice is soft but firm. Listen!
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. –Matthew 6:25-34