If you’ve ever been camping or hiking with a group you can always see who people really are. You usually see some things that they're good at and how they act when they are worn out. You usually have the fire guy. It’s the dude who always knows how to start a fire. You usually have the cook. The person who can tell you how to cook a steak to perfection. Then you have a person who suggests one crazy idea after another. You have the safety person who follows the rules and complains about the crazy idea person!
Then there’s the person who always seems to know everything about nature teaching everyone else all the different kinds of trees, plants and animals around them. What makes those camping trips so amazing is everyone using their gifts and passions to help the group as a whole. This is exactly what God wants us to do in the Church. In fact, the Bible talks about it in detail in 1 Corinthians 12. In this passage, it talks about how a group of Christians that gather is like a human body. There’s all kinds of different parts of the body that serve different functions, so it is with the Church.
You have a gift-- it’s not just for you. It’s to encourage another Christian in their faith. As each person brings their gift to the group, the whole benefits. Each of us using our gifts for the benefit of others is an expression of love. That’s why the very next chapter in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, is all about love! How are you using your gifts to serve others?
You might have extra time to lend a hand, or administrative skills, or you might be really friendly, or you might like teaching others about the Bible, or you might like meeting care needs. Maybe you have multiple gifts. Either way, you have a gift and God wants you to use it to bless others!
Let me encourage you to think about the things that come easy to you. What are the things that others tell you you’re good at? Write those down. Then ask God: how can I use this to bless others? Ask your Small Group Leader or Pastor about opportunities that align with your giftings. Then start serving and watch God use you! Not only does God want us to share our talents with others, but God calls us to share our financial resources with others.
The first Christians did this from the beginning. It says this in Acts, “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” Acts 2:44-45 NLT
Now that’s generosity!! Here’s what is even more amazing! These people had not been believers long and yet they were so generous! But here’s why they could be so generous with their money, it’s because they knew how generous God had been to them first. Let’s say you were having a good day, like a really good day and you gave me your house and it just happened to be on the beach and also paid off. Then you gave me your car to go with it! It must have been a really, really good day for you, right?! But a month later you’re not having a good day and you’ve actually come on hard times, and you need a couple hundred bucks…If you asked me for some money, what do you think I would say? Of course! What’s a couple hundred bucks compared to what you’ve already given me?!
Here’s something to remember. An understanding of what we’ve been given will produce generosity in our lives. Why? Because that understanding transforms the heart. This is why we can give the tithe, 10% of our income. Maybe you’ve heard this term tithe before. This was a standard for the people of God in the Old Testament and has been a norm for the church through the centuries. It was an act of obedience, out of love and gratitude.
Now that 10% might scare you! Don’t let it. Instead, let me encourage you with this: Start being generous with your time, gifts, energy, and financial resources and watch God bless you in return. And, don’t let the number or percentage stop you. Start where you can, now. And, watch as God shows you new ways to generously bless those around you.
I’ll finish this video with this from the Bible: 2 Corinthians 9:6, “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.”
Using a farming illustration, The Bible, is talking about giving. If we give generously, God will see that generosity and bless it in proportion to the sacrifice. Look what verse 10 of that same chapter says, “For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.” 2 Corinthians 9:10 NLT
Now sometimes that blessing is financial or and many times it isn’t. Either way, you can know this: you can’t outgive God and your needs will always be met as you’re generous to others! This is the reality of being generous: It’s what God does!
This week, try it. Give something. Let it stretch your faith! But be on the watch for God's blessing headed your way as you share on your journey!
Our next video, we are talking about inviting others with you on your journey. Be sure to check it out!