V-MAIL TO THE FRONTLINE
THE ATTITUDE OF GIVING:
JESUS IS THAT YOU?
“For I was hungry and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: I was a stranger and you did not take me in: I was naked and you did not clothe me: I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison and did not minister to you? Then shall He answer them, saying, verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it NOT to one of the least of these, you did it not to me”. (Mathew 25:42-45)
Have you ever thought about what a blessing it is to be convicted about something? Even though we might completely blow it, it is still good to know that Father has not given up on us. All glory and majesty to His Name! He is filled with mercy toward us and His unconditional love is still trying to teach us. Being convicted means His hand is upon our heart, trying to get our attention. Walking in His Spirit is a process of change that will take an entire lifetime. Even then, we will still only be able to see shadows and images of where we need to be. For example, I am amazed at how I can have a great evening with the Lord, praying, reading and writing and the next day I am attacked from every side with me trying to fight with my emotions and ultimately making bad decisions. Why do I do that? I know that I should stop and pray and find the mind of Christ. I know that I should step out of the default system and step into His divine reality – so why don’t I? Have you ever become frustrated at something and behaved carnally in front of others who are not Christians? I have – and it is embarrassing. I have felt convicted over my immaturity and the lack of spiritual sensitivity and in most cases we cannot go back and fix it. We can just ask the Lord to forgive us and those who were watching us, and try to learn from our mistakes that we may not do it again. The Christian road is a challenging narrow path.
I was convicted the other night about something else. We had been to Wal-Mart and were driving down the street when I saw a man up ahead holding a sign. He was standing at the intersection and his sign said, “Hungry – homeless”. Yes, I admit it, I drove off without helping him but I was convicted about it. It was at night and on a poorly lit back street and it does make you a little weary of strangers especially in this day and age but what should we do? I know we should follow the leading of God’s voice but sometimes I cannot tell the difference between Him nudging me and my “feelings”. Should we give him a bag of groceries? Should we invite him to come home with us? Should we take him to a restaurant and order him a meal? Should we hand him some cash? It is true, he could have been an angel and maybe it was a test for me that I completely failed. Or he could have been a violent criminal waiting for me to stop so he could rob us and kill us. Whatever the case, I confess there are times when my generosity has sympathy and other circumstances when I feel that I should not intervene. As far as my obedience with divine appointments, I pray that I can be more sensitive and be aware of when they are obviously right in front of me. I have wondered about that man ever since the other night. I wanted to know more about what drove him to stand and hold a sign of desperation. But, wait a minute – what does that have to do with anything? Why does it matter? Because we want to make sure that people are really suffering and not just scamming us! We want all the background information so that we can make the “right” decision. Is this what Jesus did? Is this the way He wants us to handle these situations? Have you ever been faced with these questions?
Yes, I admit, I have also walked past people begging for donations at Christmas. We have heard about large salaries and the corporate waste and sometimes this causes us to draw back. Everyday our world reveals so many sickening disappointments and deceptions that we are subconsciously becoming paranoid. This is all the more reason for us to stay “glued” to the Fathers heart. I admit I have not picked up hitch-hikers and I do not give to the Special Olympics or fireman’s fund every time they call. Most of time I am involved with something and I do not stop and ask God if I should give. I receive letters in the mail from different ministries almost every day wanting money and I do give to some but I admit I do not give to all of them. I believe we are stewards of our finances and should consult with Father in every decision especially in finances. I am also convinced that most of the time it is the Holy Spirit who will nudge US when He wants us to give and these moments of obedience are the most rewarding. We just need to learn to stop arguing about what He is telling us to do – and do it! But at the same time we cannot be led by our emotions every time someone holds their hand out because we may interfere with what God is trying to work out in someone’s life. I have asked the question before; if the Lord is trying to deal with someone and we stumble into the situation with our emotions, are we being an enabler for them to continue resisting God’s voice? As long as they are refusing to yield to God’s will and trying to be independent – are we interrupting what Father is trying to reveal to them? Maybe – maybe not, this is why it is so important to walk in God’s presence. I am sad for all the ones I have failed in the past because of my own brain trying to analyze people. I think sometimes it is really our “feelings” trying to justify our rebellion as we try to come up with reasons not to give. I repent for my selfishness and for walking in the carnal nature of trying to imagine what they really need.
You know, maybe this goes even deeper. Our old human nature loves to see everyone receive what they have coming to them. We accept the idea of judgment and punishment because when people make mistakes we want to see them suffer for it. When Jonah was sent to Ninevah, he was excited to know they were going to be destroyed and was disappointed to see them repent! We love to watch revenge which we call justice and we believe that fairness includes everyone getting what they deserve! We think we know what others deserve and until those requirements are met we believe they should continue to suffer. When people do hideous acts, we are ok with them burning in hell. But it is a different story when we judge our own life. (We call our trespasses “mistakes” and we look for complete forgiveness and restoration.) Is this why many people do not give? Because they believe that people’s misfortunes are consequences of their own choices and do not “deserve” help? Have you ever thought; why should I help them when they have messed up their life and it is entirely their fault? Is our giving to be influenced by the motives and intentions of those in need, or are we to just give and let God take it from there?
Generally speaking, I believe generosity is a Christ-like character trait while being selfish is leaning toward the carnal. Some may have a natural giving personality while others may need to work hard to be transformed into a giver. In either case, the important thing is to walk through life with a loose grip on money and material treasures because they belong to this world. They are to be used as a “tool” to help us in the harvest of souls. We can enjoy them for a season because they are a blessing but we must not allow them to become an idol and possess our heart. Lord, help us to be more like You, in Jesus Name, amen.