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Giving and Gaining

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Gwen Smith

September 5, 2013

Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Friendship, Giving, Scripture, Worship

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I pretty much consider myself to have a black thumb. Charcoal, even. I like plants and genuinely try to keep plants healthy and thriving in my home, but fail at it a lot more than I succeed. Seriously. Black thumb. So when my girlfriend brought me a baby aloe plant, my heart was torn between girlfriend-gratitude and feelings of sorrow for the innocent little aloe.

A few weeks after she gave me the plant gift, my friend told me a story. She confessed that she struggles to share things. It’s just hard for her. She had two aloe plants for a long time but one day she felt a heart-nudge to give one of them to me. (Bless her heart! She obviously knows nothing of said black thumb!) Though she admittedly isn’t naturally inclined to give her things away, she said that she decided in her heart that she would give me the small aloe baby.

For weeks she had meant to act on that heart-nudge and give me the aloe plant, but just never got around to it. She kept forgetting. She’d think about bringing me the aloe plant when she wasn’t home or remember late at night when it was too late to run it by my house. In the back of her mind she thought that one of her plants would surely have an aloe baby offspring … reasoning that she could just give me that one instead of one of her two plants.

Finally, she remembered. She brought me the cute little healing plant and gave it to me with a smile. Yay! We threw down a happy plant-dance that morning as we shared both a cup of coffee and our hearts in friendship.

So as we sat at my kitchen table again, coffee mugs in hands, she finished her story by excitedly saying, “The most amazing thing happened this week, Gwen! When I walked past the aloe plant that I’d kept for myself, I noticed that a baby aloe plant had sprung up in the pot! It was almost like a little present from God reminding me that I can’t out-give Him. That when I trust Him and obey His nudges, He will bless me right back.”

I nodded and smiled. She’s so right. In the Bible God calls us to be generous, and He promises to bless us when we are. God’s Word has a lot to say about the tandem between generous giving and blessings.

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice” (Psalm 112:5, NIV, emphasis mine).

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV, emphasis mine).

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (Proverbs 22:9, NIV, emphasis mine).

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV).

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV).

God clearly calls His children to generous living … no matter what we have, who we are, or where we live. Even the poorest among us are called to live generously. And let’s not confuse the matter: it’s not about our bank accounts – it’s about our hearts. We are to be generous, willing to share, and rich in good deeds for the glory of God. The Scriptural promise we can stand on is this: blessings will follow our generosity. When we give freely in obedience to Christ and live open-handed with all that we’ve been entrusted with, we reap beautiful life benefits.

Where does this promise and prompting find you today? Have you been nudged lately to be generous? Do you struggle to share things, both tangible and intangible? Is God calling you to serve Him somewhere with your time, treasures, or talents? Maybe the thing you need to give is forgiveness to someone or to yourself – or encouragement – or kindness. Got a family member, neighbor, or friend in need? Do something!

Generous living will look different to each of us, but we are all called to give as we live. I was blessed when my friend gave me that baby aloe plant. She was blessed too. God made sure of it. He always does. Friend, consider this truth and ask the Lord to move you missionally and to direct your giving. Today and every day live to give for the glory of God. Good will come of it. He promises … and that’s a promise you can take to the bank!

Dear Lord, You are perfectly generous. I am blessed by the abundance of Your grace, mercy, love and truth. Help me to live generously and to give open-handedly just as you have with me. In Jesus’s name, amen.

 

Are you wondering what happened to the aloe baby?  

She. Had. Babies!! (You can see on in this silly pic. I’m a nerd. And YES – I was wearing a STEELERS jersey in the photo. #noapologies)

aloe

 

God delights in our worship of Him. He loves when we get past our selves and our schedules… and prioritize adoration, contemplation and exaltation. My CD, Uncluttered, is purposed to sweep you away from life-noise and to focus your heart and mind on the one thing that matters: your relationship with Jesus Christ. You can listen to the songs here or download songs from iTunes or Amazon

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About Gwen Smith


Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.

 

16 responses to “Giving and Gaining”

  1. Michele says:

    Gwen, Thanks for today’s message. God has been working on me for the last several months to lean on Him and His trustworthiness. My senior pastor talked about how we can trust God because He is trustworthy at a memorial service earlier this summer, and God has been sending little reminders (song lyrics, Bible verses, comments in devotionals, etc.) ever since then, to help me trust Him, and see how trustworthy He truly is. Right now He has allowed several things in my life to help me become totally dependent on Him, and the more I do depend on Him, the more blessings I see.
    I loved what you said about “That when I trust Him and obey His nudges, He will bless me right back.” He really does!
    Thanks for this, and sharing your struggles to help us grow too. 🙂

  2. Jen says:

    Wow, Gwen, you shook my heart and soul today! (tears)
    I struggle with giving. I love to give, but am afraid of doing without financially and with my time. Sounds like a trust issue, eh? Yes, I need to trust God with this issue, and you have definitely given me a shove in the right direction. I need to start with giving God my time first thing in the morning. I’ve wanted to start a routine, but have struggled. I also need to have a conversation with my husband on this – as he struggles too.
    You have opened a squeaky door in my soul today – thank you!

  3. Janice Nightingale says:

    About four days ago I realized that I had let my morning devotion time lapse. Feeling the “emptiness” at the beginning of my day I searched for a woman’s daily devotion. I was lead to “Girlfriends in God”. Today’s devotion was perfect. I am transitioning from one job to another early next week. At my current place of employment (where I have been for 22 years) I have two co-workers that have each borrowed over $300 from me. My heart has been nudged to let them know they do not need to pay this back. One of my co-workers as avoided me (as he has not lived up to his promise to pay be back on payday—several months ago). The other co-worker is a recovering alcoholic and needed to pre-pay bills before he headed into treatment. In reality the over $600 would be nice. My new job will be less pay and less hours (my choice, setting priorities). I know God will provide. I have been very blessed.
    Oh, you never need to apologize for the Steelers jersey!

  4. Carol Torno Costello says:

    Loved this devotion and it’s perfect timing! My dear sister-in-law passed away in July after courageously battling breast cancer for 9 years. A few years earlier on my birthday she had given me a sideways cross necklace which I NEVER took off. When she was near death, her sister came to visit her and wanted a necklace like mine. The Lord nudged me to give her mine instead of buying her one. It took me a few days to obey. My sister-in-law’s sister proudly wore OUR necklace to the funeral, rubbing the cross for strength. To this day when I see one of those necklaces I think of my dear sister-in-law. The perfect timing part comes in because just recently I was kind of feeling sorry for myself for having given the necklace away. But your devotion was spot on. And I truly have been rewarded! May God bless you always Gwen!

  5. Laura says:

    Thank you Gwen for the reminder. I’ve tried being a giving person and I know I have a long ways to go. I love giving my gifts of music to God and using it to worship him. Giving ourselves fairly dedicated to the small church family God has given us. But we’ve always made just enough to comfortably live and never really truly given financially except the occasional special gift. I have of late had the desire to do so more but I want that desire to come from my husband as well. Praying that God will change our hearts and bless us.

  6. Sandra says:

    I live a very quiet and solitude life, I am retired while my husband still works to support us both. I don’t give monetarily to the home front for bills and such so I give me instead, I give of myself to him and our home. I love to go to church and see all the people there whom I know love God as I do. I try my best to give to God all of me, and to those who are there or a new visitor there I give my love and my hugs. When I have that rarity of company I find that I can not let anyone live my home with out something in hand, LOL it drives me crazy if I don’t give to them. All I have is me so I sow what I have my heart, my love and compassion, which often times I find I reap great rewards from those I have sow me into, I do not get monetary back but so much more greater, God has rewarded me spiritual children, I am know as the mother of the church, though most of those who attend there are round about my age or older. What greater gift could I get than that. God is so good to me.

  7. Tei says:

    I struggle with giving also, (tangibly and intangibly). So.I can relate to today’s devotional. I always wished that I could be a better person, but never understood how to. But giving of myself is what it takes. So,what came to mind after reading this, was asking a friend out to.brunch this Sunday or just to hang out. She has a lot of stresses and is always suggesting that we go out. So I’m going to think.about doing it this weekend.

  8. A. LaShun Addison says:

    My claim to fame as it regards giving is, “I am the oldest child, so I don’t share.” I just said it last night to my sister-in-law. What a testimony for Christ. At any rate, God has revealed to me time and time the root of the selfishness, which is really a cover up to give on my terms without sacrifice. The post today reminds me to give in obedience to God because what I’m holding on to as my blessing is just a seedling in comparison to the fruitful tree God wants to plant in my life.

    • Dorothea says:

      Oh my, your arrow penetrated my heart right in the middle. I too am the oldest and selfish. I share but as you have made me think, it is usually on my terms. Thank you. I need to let go literally and figuratively because everything I have belongs to God anyway so why am I so tight fisted with both material things and emotional things? selfish, prideful, and arrogant sinner. I lay before The Lord and ask forgiveness now here in front of you. Thanks again…..

  9. Kars says:

    Thanks for sharing Gwen. Today I feel God speaking to me about sharing my knowledge at work. I usually do, but feel I do it half heartedly, because the favor rarely gets returned. I need to trust God that He would use this to His glory and that I do not need to feel that I am not going to be the “expert” if I share all my knowlege with others. I pray that God would make me a “cheerful giver”

  10. Brenda says:

    Thank you so much for today’s reading!! I share your gardening skills, but continue to try because it is amazing what God can do with the plants I try to grow! I am a recovering alcoholic and have been struggling with re-entering the workforce. My husband and I have lost the very generous salary I contributed and are learning financial partnership for the first time in our 23 years of marriage. It is awesome to see how God has “fixed” so many problems I thought I had when trying to handle life on my own. In addition, the tools I am learning in my program teach me to rely on God and serve others. I am so glad that God did not give up on me, when I was been so self-absorbed.
    Your devotion today lifted my heart and gave me encouragement. I can’t wait to see what God will do with me today.

    • Gwen Smith says:

      What a great way to look at today, Brenda! Congratulations on your sobriety! We know that all glory goes to GOD, but I am proud of you, friend. Keep standing firm in Christ and moving in HIS direction of healing. Have you ever heard my song, “Broken into Beautiful”? I think it might hit you in a deep heart-place. Here’s the song: http://youtu.be/YDPEOAXTthI

  11. Ellen says:

    Gwen I love reading your devotion today on how we should be generous, and give to others, I believe in doing that; helping or sharing something that i have. It does refresh your soul like it says in Proverbs 11:25. I live in a senior hosing apartment building, and everyone who has a birthday or something I would cook them a very nice dinner, let them enjoy through my cooking. I always love to cook so by doing that, and seeing the smiles on their faces is a blessing to me. I love to share things; it just puts a happy song in my heart when you do something like this. God Bless ……

  12. Lori says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

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