Thursday, March 26, 2009

Giving Back in Proportion

Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you. Deuteronomy 16:10 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you. Deuteronomy 16:17 NIV

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Romans 12:6

In the beautiful harmony of the two Testaments we see that we give back what was first given to us. It all flows from His grace. It is to flow in response and in proportion to the blessings we have received. The aim in both economies is to testify of His goodness to us.
In the Old Testament the freewill offering was to be from their flock. In the New Testament we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices as our spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 Of course we give of our material blessings, but more importantly we give ourselves to Him, to His service, and to take our place in His body. He has given us His Holy Spirit which will manifest in gifts to be used in service to him and to his people.
In our present economy churches may be hurting for money to carry out the Lord's work, but I can say with confidence that virtually all churches are in need of gifted workers who have a servant's heart. I have attended 3 churches in 35 years and have friends attending many other churches. The story is always the same...a small minority doing the majority of the work and a lot of potential ministry opportunities unable to be staffed.
I know people who teach lunch time Bible studies at their workplace. I know someone who is in an assisted living facility and does Bible studies for the other women who live there. I am friends with several women who have jail ministries and also serve their local church. I know people who for years have worked faithfully serving the Lord with joy in their church. However, I am going to say this as kindly as I know how, faithfulness, commitment, and the heart of a servant are rare even among church goers. For many, even if God told them specifically what He wanted them to do, they wouldn't be faithful. They won't forgo the pleasures and pulls of life to prepare and show up Sunday after Sunday. He deserves so much more from His people.
I am not trying to produce guilt in anyone's heart. The Lord made it clear to me a long time ago that anything done for him motivated by guilt has no reward. I am asking for a heart check between you and the Lord. Are you serving Him? Are you presenting yourself, in light of all that He has done for you, and in proportion to His blessings, as a living sacrifice? How has the Holy Spirit gifted you? If you aren't sure then take one of the many spiritual gifts inventories that can be found online. Ask Him to develop a heart to serve in you. Ask the Lord to show you how He wants you to serve and where. Stay focused and pay attention after you pray. I can assure you He will delighted to let you know.
MY PRAYER: Lord, help me to stir up the gift that you have given me and use it to serve you by serving your church and your world. You have blessed me and I will respond in proportion to those blessings. By your grace I will take my place. I will also pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into the harvest. In the name of the One who is worthy, amen.
MY CONFESSION: You have given to each one of us the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. I have been gifted and I will use it for the common good. I stand on your word! 1 Corinthians 12:7

No comments: