To Receive Or To Give?

Life is a strange thing!  You may have already figured that out, but this morning early the phone rang, and it caused me to do a great deal of thinking which I am now going to try to make plain for you as well as myself.  You may have noticed in these days of turmoil that people are even more actively looking for security and in the process, there is a lot of movement in our local churches as people want to more clearly and rightly hear the voice of the Lord.  Have we been missing something without even realizing it?

Those of us who have grown up in the church frequently and automatically will turn to the scripture hoping to glean a particular and even specific word from the Lord, and that is not a bad thing.  I wonder however if it could be that in our efforts to be pleasing to our Lord we might be missing the boat?  Think about it – a professional cook always wants what he does to be grand and looks forward to receiving many compliments and is not satisfied if he doesn’t.  But where does most of his pleasure come from – is it from the compliments he receives or from knowing deep down in his spirit that he has done a good job in spite of the work it took?

We do have a tendency to place value on others by looking at the good things that have happened in one’s life.  Surely the Lord is pleased with that person because look at what he has received.  Why do I still feel that I am missing something?  Scripture itself tells us And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive (Matthew 21:22); Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24); And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight (1 John 3:22).

But we must remember that there are two sides to a coin.  Are we deserving of what we have received?  Do we give back, more than grateful, for the gift?  So many of us simply say “thank you” and then go back to living life as always.  Our Father does not give to us simply to bring us happiness; in fact, even though we don’t think of it there is a better reason.  He wants all His children to know His heart which means He wants us to spread the Word.  He left this earth to save us, but He expects His children to finish the work that is still left to be done.  Could you be the someone who is supposed to finish a particular job that will forever be left undone if you do not pick up the ball?

Maybe the Scripture will give us a clue.  Hmm!  Matthew tells us to Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away (5:42).  Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 9:7 - So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.  Luke records the words of Peter in Acts 3:6 -  Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

Wait a moment – I can hear your doubts already; the first one could think he will make a killing simply by pretending he is poor or hungry.  How can we tell the difference between the legitimate and the real?  It becomes a matter of listening to your heart; you are not responsible for what you think, but what you do.  What is God saying to you?  Sometimes it might be what Peter has to say rather than handing over the money that was asked for.  Sometimes we may make a mistake, but we will only learn by doing and listening.  Learning takes time; it takes trial and error and hearing as our Father speaks to our hearts.  

We give Thee but Thine own, whate’er the gift may be:
All that we have is Thine alone, A trust, O Lord, from Thee.