She watches as the collection baskets are passed. A nervous sort of queasy feeling wells up inside. She’s a teenager with no money in her purse. But, she has a heart full of love for the Lord. She wants to give something! What will it be?
One more quick look into the echoing emptiness of her handbag. No money still! Then she sees it. She grabs it. She hurries to scribble a note on the back. Not a moment too soon, either. Here comes the basket. In it goes. She sighs. Calm replaces the storm raging inside.
Now enter the scene in a side room later that morning. Brother “X” and brother “Y” are preparing the Sunday offering for deposit in the bank. They’ve done it for years now. The routine is always the same. The coins, which are set aside to be counted later, are growing into a miniature mountain. Checks are sorted for tabulation. Dollar bills, which have been carefully crafted into works of art by industrious children, are unfolded.
Then it happens. The near ritualistic routine is broken. Just look at that! Well, it’s probably a prank. Teenagers do things like that, you know? There near the bottom of the basket rests a photograph of a teenage girl. Brother “Y” picks it up. He turns it over. He reads aloud. Tears fill the eyes of brother “X”, as he listens to the words written in haste: “I have nothing but myself to give.”
Can you imagine the scene in heaven? I think I see Jesus smiling! For, our teenage friend has opened our eyes to see that giving-living is the the key. Did not Jesus say: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”?
Living for Jesus requires giving all to Him! Giving-living is the key to success. John Maxwell writes in his book The Success Journey, “People who have a giving spirit are some of the most positive people I know, because giving is the highest level of living. They focus their time and energy on what they can give to others rather than what they can get from them. And the more people give, the better their attitude.”
We never get by taking; rather, we get by giving. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) A look at the context in which this verse is found makes it clear that the giving Jesus has in mind has to do with giving ourselves to others. Giving-living is a key ingredient for the only truly blessed lifestyle! Jesus’ words establish this point well. For He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Jesus calls us to giving-living. We need not drop a photograph in the collection basket, but we must give ourselves to the Lord and then to others in keeping with the Lord’s will (See: 2 Corinthians 8:5). When we do so marriages are enriched, families strengthened, churches united, and many souls will hear the Good News. And, I firmly believe, Jesus smiles in approval when He sees His disciples walking in His steps, practicing giving-living.
© Bill Williams