Piece of the Pie

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    It seems as if resources are being drained from every direction these days. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and it seems that sometimes there is not a lot left. The government takes taxes out of our check before we get it, and then they take taxes again when we spend the money. The cost of food continues to rise and there is really not much we can do about it because we cannot go without eating. The cost of gas fluctuates and tends to be on the high side at times and in turn drives up the cost of other goods that we use. At the end of the day sometimes there is not a lot of money left in the bank. Even at that, most are willing to help others if there is truly a need. The difficult thing is determining whether or not there is a true need.

    It seems that there are always people on the corners of streets begging for money. Even after the elaborate welfare system that we have in this country is done paying out, it seems that some people still don't have enough food to survive. There are others we know who are constantly in a state of crisis due to misuse of what they do have. These people could be given $100,000 today and would be begging for food again in 3 months. There are some who are capable of working in some fashion or another, but would rather live off of the "good will" of others than to work for what they have.

    Yet then there are other times when we see someone who is truly in need. There are times when a neighbor's house burns down and they are left with nothing. Yes, they might have insurance, but we all know how slow and difficult insurance can make situations like that. There are times when we see someone who is not truly needy, but could really use some help with one thing or another. There are times when we might be willing to help someone with a project that we wouldn't do for ourselves. There are times when a small gift will open up a heart.

    Giving is something that can sometimes be difficult. However, giving is something that not only benefits the receiver, but it benefits ourselves as well. Luke 6:38 says, "give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” God has promised that anything that we give will be measured back to us in a "pressed down, shaken, and running over" way. The return will always be more than that which we have given. However, the promise here is that whatever measure we use, the same measure will be used in return. If we give using a teaspoon, the return will be a heaped up, packed down, running over teaspoon. If we give using a gallon bucket, then we will receive a heaped up, packed down, overflowing gallon in return.

    Giving is something that praises and glorifies God. Whether it be giving things, giving our time, or giving our money. There will be times when we will see a need to give each of these three things. 1 John 3:17 says, "But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?"

    God has also set aside a time specifically for giving. Just as we are to take the Lord's Supper every first day of the week, we are also to give every first day of the week. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 says, "Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. " As Christians, the good that we can accomplish through joint efforts is sometimes much greater than that which can be done by one person alone. Sadly, many churches are not using given resources properly. That which is given on Sunday as commanded by God is to be used for teaching the lost, spiritually strengthening Christians, and helping those who are in need. Don't be satisfied until you find a church that uses its resources for only these things.

    The Bible's standards for giving are simple
    Give with the right attitude (cheerfully)-- 2 Cor 9:7
    Give as decided in one's heart-- 2 Cor 9:7
    Give when a need is seen-- 1 John 3:17
    Give on first day of the week-- 1 Cor 16:1-2

    When we give as God has commanded, He will always provide for us and that which we get in return will always be greater than that which we have given.