“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” My husband Brad and I used to joke that this was the unspoken motto of our kids when they were little. Toddlers have no qualms about grabbing a toy, snack, or any random item of interest from other people or pets. It’s rare to see a child share her cherished possessions generously.
It can be hard for you and me to share too.
Today’s media bombards us with marketing campaigns that tell us we are the center of the universe. “You, you, you, you, you!” Time and time again we hear that this life is all about us. The more we have, the happier we’ll be. The bigger that bank account, the more blessed the life.
I sincerely hope that none of us actually buy these lies.
They’re dangerous deceptions.
We all have a sharing problem to some degree, don’t we? Sometimes we don’t want to share our time or our space. Sometimes we don’t want to share our loved ones or our gifts. Sometimes we don’t want to share our resources. Sometimes we don’t want to share God’s grace. Sometimes we just want to be left to ourselves and don’t want to share anything!
God calls each of us to share.
The early New Testament church shows us that generous living honors God and blesses others. In Acts 4:32-37; we see an amazing snapshot of generous giving in the early church. The believers were one in heart and mind. They were supernaturally unified to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and you could not find a needy person among them. What a model!
Giving wasn’t political. It wasn’t mandatory. It wasn’t done begrudgingly.
…They shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32)
The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 11:29-30)
But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving…For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. (I Corinthians 8:7,12)
The resources of the believers were God’s, and they knew it. They placed what they had before the leaders in selfless acts of worship…for the glory of God and the provision of others. This principle is very important, but it’s also very counter-cultural.
The Bible shows us that true life, a blessed life, an abundant life, a purposed life, is, in fact, all about God. What we have, have given birth to, or hold onto is really not our own. It’s just on loan to us for a breath of a moment by our more-than-generous Creator.
And each day brings us new opportunities to be good stewards.
Let’s face it; it’s just not always easy or natural to be generous. Perhaps we have been taken advantage of or we’ve been hurt by another’s deception. There are risks to giving.
The generous giving of the early church blessed the lives of their people. When we share what we have, God is honored and needs are met.
The risks are worth taking.
I’m not suggesting a Robin Hood philosophy of “take from the rich and give to the poor.” And I don’t believe in the politics of communism or socialism. This principle of generous giving is Biblical. It’s an act of worship to God. It matters to God, and it should matter to us.
We need to reject the toddler mentality of “what’s mine is mine.”
God loves a cheerful giver.
We are blessed to give.
Tell God today: “Lord, what’s mine is Yours! Use it for Your glory!”
Dear Lord, thank You for this reminder from Your Word. You are amazingly lavish in Your love for me, and You have given me so much. All I have is Yours. Please help me to excel in the grace and worship of giving. Open my eyes to opportunities to bless others for Your glory. In Jesus’s Name, Amen
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE:
Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.
Got a story, prayer need, challenge or fresh thought about giving? How do you feel about your people, passions, and possessions? Have you shared generously lately? Is God bringing anyone to your mind that could use your help or generosity? Let’s talk about it! CLICK HERE to leave a comment.
Thanks for doing life with me!
I heard a message years ago about the Good Samaritan and how that story embodies all aspects. “What’s yours is mine ” was the theives philosophy. “What’s mine is mine” was the priest s (and teacher’s) philosophy. “What’s mine is yours” was the Good Samaritan’s philosophy. We all know who got it right!!
As believers, giving should be a natural part of us. The bible says that if we have an opportunity to help other, we shouldn’t hold back. The moment we hesitate or hold back from giving freely is the moment we hold back ourselves from receiving true blessings from God. Let genuine generousity be apart of our lives and don’t try to force it on ourselves.
I’ve been helping my son and his family with food shopping. He’s working but things have been hard as with others, I know it sounds easy because it’s my son but sometimes I don’t want to let go of my possessions but I remeber how good people have been to me in my need as I know it’s from God and I did tel my son Jeff one day when things are better and you see someone in need pay it forward. I would like to thank you for all the devotions you ladies share, I always look forward reading them every day. God bless to you all and your families.
I moved to this area last year and joined the local church. Before long, I discovered a real need to bring the ladies of the church together. We had their first retreat which was a huge success, but I felt moved to find a way to bring the ladies together on an ongoing basis. I am trying to organize a ladies support group at our church in order to bring the younger and older women together. It is not meant to be a Bible study, book club or a meeting with a commitment to attend, just a gathering where we share support, encouragement and inspiration with one another. I used the name Inspirations for this group.
Our first gathering is Tuesday, Feb. 3 and I don’t know whether to expect 2 or 20 or more to show up at my doorstep next week. Please pray for the success of this venture as I see a real need here for something like this.
I don’t like being selfish and when I am, it makes me very uncomfortable. There have been times in my life where people have taken from me and I would close myself off for a bit but then when I start to think, I realize that I am not like that and just because people can me fickle, doesn’t mean that I have to.
Generally I am not a selfish person. I believe that life is a life of service and I’m learning that our giving is a reflection of God’s love. I’ve also learned that giving is not all about money. I’ve learned to give my time through different church ministries and volunteering. Yes, you can never outgive God! I’ve witnessed this in my life time and time again. God is so faithful – he has provided for me and my two girls these past three years that I never could imagine! I am faithful to my tithing but also faithful to serving and sharing my talents that God has blessed me with!
I think that most of us don’t struggle with sharing with certain people. It’s the people that are hard to share time, resources, etc. with that is tough, if I am making any sense.
Thank you Gwen for sharing. I love your writing and the relevant things you write about. This one really speaks to me. I love to give and share but have a lot of fear at times. I don’t know if it’s because I’m unsure if I’m being taken advantage of. I ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance on my journey. I know that I’m a woman with issues but too I know I’m a woman blessed. Thank you Girlfriends in God for continuing to share and give of your spiritual gifts. This is one appreciative girlfriend…
My Father also taught me by example to care for the needy and the elderly, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills! I work at a Soup Kitchen, I find a lot of JOY there, beautiful broken souls have so much to give!!!
Like Ruthie said, you can’t out give God! Thanks Gwen for always sharing a thoughtful and dynamic word. I have been following Girlfriends in God for years, and you are all truly a blessing.
I feel one of the worst areas this is seen in recent years is the “take time for yourself” model. Now, hear me out! I’m all for taking time to refresh and rejuventate – sometimes we need this. But, as women, I believe we are first called to be wives and mothers, and I cringe every time I hear someone say that the only way to be happy is to leave your family for a night or two to go pamper yourself. Again, don’t get me wrong. But, especially while your family is young, you should be willing to sacrifice yourself, your time, and your energy for them. They will grow up, then you don’t have to.
Joan Everything we have belongs to God and he shares with us when we need it.
You can’t outgive God! That’s a lesson my parents instilled in me at a young age. They pastored a small church where tithes were things like home made sour kraut or vegetables from their garden. My parents literally paid more tithes into the church than what the church paid them in salary. They went on to minister other churches and to the mission field…. with no retirement home to come home to. God allowed a smart person to convince them to invest a small amount of money plus take out a loan to build a quadraplex – which paid itself off before they returned from the mission field. The “plan” being for them to have a home when they returned from the mission field with 3 other units to rent out and pay for expenses. The result ended up being enough money to buy an additional home! God is so good. I challenge ANYone to TRY to outgive God – I promise you just Cannot do it!
Gwen, how should we deal with situations which involve people who live in a pattern of depending on others? Is this enabling, and if it is, are we to continue ‘feeding’ these circumstances?
We love your blog, thank you!
At I Like Giving we specialize in telling stories of generosity – take a look at our latest story “I Like Soccer Balls” here:
We hope it encourages you!
I used to make about $120,000 a year but wasn’t tithing even though I knew I should. I bought into the world’s lies. In January of 2009, the work in my field of specialty got sent to India. I I lost everything and now live with my mother. I work for a McDonald’s at $8 per hour and get about 12-16 hours a week. I also have a business on the side doing in-home computer maintenance and repair and another being a personal assistant. These two businesses give me about $125 a week income.
When I moved in with mom, she didn’t have a very good relationship with her neighbor. Both are Christians and both thought the other was not friendly. One day I found out that the neighbor had lost all her savings to a money manager who stole her money and that she was struggling to buy food and necessities. I started giving her my tithe money in the form of grocery store gift certificates. By the world’s standards I can’t afford it, but God has lead me in that direction.
The result is blessings for all three of us. Their relationship has improved and they now talk all the time. The neighbor watches our cat when we go to my sister’s to week for more than a day. And God seems to be blessing my businesses.
I’m looking for more income (i’m an artist) and I pray that I’ll have the job where I can give back a lot to those in need at that time. To have this as a purpose or a goal (to be able to give back) is inspired by the verse Ephesians 4:28
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Normally we want an income to be able to pay the bills and look after our own needs, but to get a job to look after other people’s needs is a way that you trust God that your needs will automatically be accounted for already 🙂
I am most selfish with my time, the one thing I have most of, and yet I feel I have no “me” time…it is spent listening to and doing for others who need me. I don’t resent that, but I do need alone time with Jesus to reflect and refresh my soul.
I can relate… and yes, we surely need time with Jesus. Thanks for sharing.
Growing up we were poor. My parents gave not only what little money we had but also of their time. As an adult that left a bad taste in my mouth. Not so much the time but the money so it was one of the reasons I didn’t go to church. I thought all they asked for was money. Over 10yrs ago my daughter got me to try another church. Needless to say it was a good fit—the pastor NEVER asked for money!! He just said here we give like they used to with giving boxes in the back of the church. Not equal giving but equal sacrifice. That hit a cord and made sense. 3 weeks we went to church the kids and I on that 3rd Sunday I gave $35. No it’s not a lot but at the time we were living paycheck to paycheck. I knew my husband would be angry giving to some church so I didn’t tell him. I got my husband to start going to church on the 4th week. About a month after we all started going to church my husband came home from work one day and said that the owner of the company called him in to his office. He told my husband, Larry that he messed up and owed him some money from his quarterly bonus. Larry thinking it can’t be much (we always new within a hundred dollars how much was coming in) said no worries. His boss said it was too much to give at one time so he had to break it up over several months…..it was $10,000!!!! Larry was shocked! Me, I just started to cry when he told me this because I thought back to what our pastor said. I confessed to Larry about the giving and told him we are going to do the 10% that church suggested from now on. He agreed. Now as a disclaimer—-No every week or every time we give we have not rec’d such a large sum of money!!! But when we do give regularly like we are supposed to its amazing how God blesses us in every area of our lives!! I am continually surprised of how much God watches over us!
This is a great story. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m so warmed by the way the LORD has brought you to the richness of giving… in such a personal and God-is-awesome kind of way. 🙂
Loving is Giving,and Giving is living.
Amen. Love that.