I have a friend who loves to say, “You find your life as you give it away.” He takes this personal slogan from the Bible when Jesus says, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever wants to lose his life for Me and My sake will find it.” Those words of Jesus reflect the very essence of the Christian life. Christians should be known by what they give, not by what they keep.
I am currently in the middle of a sermon series that is focusing on stewardship. Stewardship is simply taking care of, or managing well, the things God gives us: things such as money, time, talents, and possessions. These messages have been very challenging and convicting. When we truly take time to stop and think about how we use the things God gives us, we often discover that we are using those things more for ourselves than for God and other people. We become guilty of storing up more for ourselves instead of helping others in their time of need.
As 2015 keeps rolling along, here are four things that might encourage all of us to develop the mindset and lifestyle of being known by what we give away and not by what we keep:
First, connect with a healthy church. Healthy churches will not be focused inwardly, but outwardly. By connecting with a good church, you can join with other believers and truly make a difference in the lives of many people. You can do good things on your own, but together, we can do more.
Second, get involved with foster/adoptive care. There is a tremendous need in Oklahoma related to children who are in vulnerable and difficult situations. If you cannot foster or adopt a child, you can support and help families who are. There are many in our church who are involved in orphan care, my family included, and there are great opportunities to help. As I often tell my church, “There shouldn’t be a child in Oklahoma who doesn’t have a home.”
Third, develop a “see a need, meet a need” lifestyle. When you become aware of a need, seek to meet it if you can. Be looking for opportunities to assist others and, as you discover needs, meet the ones you can. Each and every day, there are people who are hungry, hurting, discouraged, etc., and if each of us did what we could each day, we could truly make a difference.
Finally, pray. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. At the very least, pray for people. When you go through the drive-through window, pray. When you walk in the mall, pray. When you are at school, work, or even driving down the road, pray. Pray for all people, in all seasons, at all times. Prayer connects us to the heart of God, and God’s heart is to redeem people.
This year, I hope we will all seek to develop a “God first, others second” lifestyle. I pray that we will be known not by what we keep, but by what we give. The world is in need of people who live like this. Join me in seeking to live this way.