Stagnant or Flowing?

Be a joyful giver

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;   their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9 v 6-15)

One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed
 (Proverbs 11:24-25)

These passages are generally used with reference to finances, but I believe they apply to all areas of giving, including acts of service

We can see from both these passages that what God has given to us, whether natural or spiritual gifts, never was, and never will be, given for us to keep for ourselves, but to be continually given out.

Let’s look at this in nature. If you have a pond with no inlet or outlet the pond water becomes stale and stagnant-smelling, full of sludge and algae and no longer attractive to anyone. The smell is so repugnant that It repels people even before they get to see it.

It is the same with giftings: if we use all our gifting to build ourselves up and bolster our ego, people will soon be saying: “look at him, he so is so selfish and obsessed with himself.”

But if you have a lake with  a river  that flows in and  out of it, then  the water is fresh; plants and trees around it are green,  the air smells fresh close up, the water has beautiful reflections of the sky and the surroundings, it is bursting with life both in and out of the water,  it attracts people to it and gives them peace.

Whether it is resources or gifting, let us remember Luke 6:38:

“Give, and it shall be given unto you: pressed down and running over shall men pour into your lap.”

If we do, our water will always be fresh.

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