Thoughts on giving and a mind to change…

There seems to always be a lot on my mind and today is no exception. After spending Thanksgiving reflecting on the blessings of the Lord amidst all the media hype about “sales,” I’m back to where I often find myself wrestling between the Spirit and the flesh. Oh my what a battle we are in to resist the pull of the world into the craziness of materialism. Finding the proper perspective on money and things has proved to be quite a challenge for me in the past few years. We are blessed with so many good things, spiritual things and tangible gifts and for all of it I am truly thankful.

Yet I find myself at a place where I want to be content and recognize what constitutes enough. There comes a time when we must look at what matters most and where our “treasure” is. When we allow ourselves to believe “if only I had _____________, then I would be happy,” then we have lost sight of the truth. There is no thing that will satisfy the soul and what we often define as happiness is nothing more than an elusive emotion that can never be sustained.

Some material things are necessary for life. We must have food and protection from the elements but there are so many things that we consider to be necessities that simply aren’t at all. I find a hard truth to face for me is the fact that I really like comfort, physical comfort, and will allow myself to fret when not as comfortable as I would like to be.

On Sunday morning I was fretting. I am ashamed of it, but it is the truth. I was fretting because I still don’t have that gas heater I’m wanting for our downstairs so that I won’t need to layer up to be warm and comfortable. Well, I went into church trying to shake loose the cobwebs in my mind of all the things that hinder me from casting my eyes heavenward and hearing from the Lord. We hadn’t gone far in the service before missionaries were mentioned and then we heard some preaching and some testimonies about the state of the lost world. When a man gave a tearful testimony of finding someone lying in a cold hut wrapped only in a blanket I saw myself…oh how I saw myself, and the words I whispered in my soul were these “I am not cold.” I still can’t look back on that moment without tears filling my eyes. Oh how self-centered and shallow I am in spite of my desire to be better.

How much more can I say about this? I have been working on asking myself a question when out and about having my eyes drawn to all the pretty things we see all around, beckoning us to make them our own. I ask “how much is enough?” One word best describes the material condition of most of us and that word is “plenty.”

The Lord Himself is our provider. Do we want to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us? If so, we must look at what we do with what He gives.

How do we ever break away from the craziness of spending so much on ourselves and others who already have plenty while giving so little to those with great need? We need a change don’t we? It isn’t easy. For one, everyone’s thinking hasn’t turned toward the kind of thoughts that have come to engage my mind concerning gifts. Another; it isn’t “bad” to give a gift to someone who has plenty when given out of love. It is a blessing to give. I’m just considering that we ought to give more to those in need and be thoughtful in all our giving.

I find the scripture that tells us “the lust of the eyes is never satisfied” to be so true.Thankfully though, we can be satisfied when we turn from the lust of the eyes toward the goodness of the Lord and give to those in need out of a pure heart. Truly when we do that we will learn, indeed it is more blessed to give than to receive, and we will desire to use what we have to bless others and to honor the Lord. My desire for myself this Christmas is that I will follow the Lord’s Spirit in my giving and will honor Him by doing just that.

I often think of how uncomfortable conviction is and how we often try to avoid it, but the fact of the matter is, we will never grow without it. We must be willing to see ourselves in our sin and selfishness in order to change and grow. I want to have eyes to see and ears to hear and then an obedient spirit to follow.

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