As we begin our new series with Ask God Today we will be focusing on “The Joy of Giving.”
How do we give without being hypocritical?
These are a few questions that I sometimes think about, wondering how we can give without feeling like we are “holier than thou” or “better than” someone else.
Numerous times we see in the Bible where Jesus or someone is talking about “giving” to others. So we know it is biblical. We also know it is important. Yet we still don’t want to give with the wrong motive. We need to try to give out of the joy of our heart.
I do believe that most ministries and individuals try to do that. They give because they love others. They love others because God has given them a loving and servant’s heart, with the attitude of Christ, and they want to show their love and bless others. In turn this brings joy—joy not only to the recipient of the gift, but also to the giver.
My husband, Jeff, is a giver. He gives of his time every week to a local ministry called “Sidewalk Hope.” See, we don’t have to be wealthy to give; sometimes we just have to have the desire and love to see others learn about Jesus, or see them be blessed. Sometimes our best gift is the “gift of time.”
Jeff is a humble, simple and very selfless kind of guy. He is more of the behind the scenes type. He doesn’t like attention or to be in front of a crowd or use a microphone. However, he can fix most anything, he can figure out how to work smarter, not harder, and he sits in the back of a big yellow truck every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, after working all day. He first sets up the stage and speakers, then prepares and plays the music for “Sidewalk Hope.” He is dependable, and Chip Walters, the director of Sidewalk Hope, adores him and can count on him to be there.
They minister to and feed approximately 200 inner city kids every week. The music starts around 4:00 at the first location, followed by a message of hope and love, then by a snack and drink or a fully prepared meal from a local restaurant or donator. After they conclude the program at the first location, Jeff and any other volunteers pack up everything and head to the second location for the day and do it all again for another group of kids in a local inner city project area.
Sidewalk Hope goes out two days every week! It is similar to Vacation Bible School on wheels. The kids call my husband “Mr. Jeff” and they love him. Secretly he has been caught on camera with kids on his shoulders or holding a little boy less than two years old falling asleep in his arms.
Talk about blessing this woman’s heart; it blesses mine to see the man God gave me serving the Lord and loving strangers.
Why? Why does Jeff do this week after week?
Why does anyone serve others and give of their time to spread the love of Jesus?
At first it may be because it sounds like an awesome project to get involved with or maybe someone just invites you to help. Possibly in the privacy of your mind you might feel good about yourself for doing something. But somehow by the grace of God your heart is touched by joy. Your own troubles or burdens are lifted momentarily.
When we give, it never needs to be about us. Our motives are to be pure and righteous before the Lord. God will take those acts of kindness and love, and yes, He will reward you one day in heaven, but for now we still have more giving to do.
Joy is an emotion and we can be touched by the joy of the Lord even in the smallest ways.
- Seeing the face of a precious child light up when you tell them they are special or they win a prize for helping lead a group in a song or dance on the stage. It is priceless.
- Walking up to the housing complex and having a little girl walk up, grab you around the legs and hug you, and you look down and see that child smile at you with her big beautiful smile. It will melt your heart. It is beautiful.
- Standing behind a table serving food to a line of kids and sometimes their parents, knowing this may be the only meal they receive that day. It is humbling.
I am proud of my husband and also sometimes I am very envious of him. I used to get to join him on Tuesdays and love on these precious children and help out a little until I started working on Tuesdays, and only now get to go on special occasions. I know the joy he feels day after day that keeps drawing him back week after week to give to these kids.
Jeff has the right motives that Jesus is talking about in the following verses.
Giving to the Needy
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6: 1-4 NIV
How can we apply this to our lives?
- What is God telling us to do in this verse?
- So how come churches are always announcing ways to give to the needy? Are we replacing the trumpets with FB? Do you believe that God says this is okay?
- How can we be more humble?
- How do you keep a pure heart when giving?
I would love to hear your comments and ways to stay humble before the Lord so you too will experience the joy He has for you.
Please check out the Sidewalk Hope Facebook Page and you can find out ways you can help be a part of serving these kids.
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