Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Becoming a Better Giver

More than 13,000 children will die today of hunger while Americans will spend almost 1 billion dollars eating out (source).  Yikes, I can't help but read that and think, where do I fit into to this situation?  What should my response be?  I shared with you on Monday that God had been laying upon our hearts the desire to be better givers.  Recently our church has undergone a campaign called Onelife - with the question proposed as What would you do to change one life?  And it really has me thinking.  Am I using the resources that God has blessed me with for His kingdom and His purposes or do I take what I have for granted?  Do I complain too much and forget that there is a lot of hurting, hopeless and thirsty people in this world waiting for God's word, His hope and His love.  I want my one life to matter, I want to be a light in a world of darkness and to see a change come about in our generation.  So where to begin?  I believe it starts with love.  In order to be a great giver, we have to be a great lover.  Firstly I need to be a person that is totally and passionately in love with Christ and secondly a person who loves people - no matter what.  God actually tells us to love people like we love ourselves.  This is huge to me.  To me this means that the people in your life should never be hungry, thirsty or without shelter - basic needs.  I don't think I would let myself go without those things and if I'm loving others like I love myself I shouldn't let them go without them either.  Also it means to me that I should always see someone the way Christ would, even the people that are so hard to love.  Since Christ has first loved me - by laying down his life and by wiping away my sin I can be seen in the eyes of God as beautiful and blameless.  I pray that God would teach me to love this way, seeing others through His eyes.

If you haven't read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan I encourage you to do so.  It will very much challenge the way you love God and others.  He says in his book," The crazy part about God's heart is that he doesn't just ask us to give; He desires us to love those in need as much as we love ourselves, that is the core of the second greatest command, "Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:39).  He is asking you to love as you would want to be loved if it were your child who was blind from drinking contaminated water; to love the way you would want to be loved if you were the homeless woman sitting outside of the cafe; to love as though if it were your family that was living in the shack slapped together by cardboard and scrap metal."

So I'm hoping through this blog we can love and encourage each other to be better lovers and givers.  I'll be sharing stories of how others are changing this world through Christ's love and ways each of us can make a difference.  Since we are getting very close to Christmas I thought it would be a great time to mention a great organization that is making a difference in this world in the lives of thousands of children all around the world - Samaritan's Purse.  Each year they sponsor a program called Operation Christmas Child.  It's a really simple way that we can start to be better givers.  Shoe box or shoe box sized boxes are filled with items for children and shipped all around the world to those who have less.  Consider filling up a box for a child this Christmas (or maybe two or three) and start a change in the way you love. Shoe boxes are collected at sites all around the US, the deadline for boxes to be turned in is Nov 21st.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

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