Give, Without Neglecting to Love:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

I came from a large family that was very poor. My dad was definitely working hard to provide for nine kids (two of my brothers passed away), a wife, an alcoholic problem, and with wages that were very small. My dad worked for farmers, was a fireman for the railroad, a manager for an elevator, a tool man for a tractor manufacturing company, he worked as a janitor, and a truck driver, and had many more occupations. He had to go wherever there was work.

When he brought us to relatives to celebrate holidays, I’m sure they planned in advance, because the food was plenty and good, and they provided it without reserve. I was thankful for the gifts of good food and the kindness of allowing us to eat to our heart’s content.

That’s why the holidays meant so much to me. They were the feasting in the midst of famine. I can hear my dad’s voice, “You kids eat up!”

That is giving–filling a child’s hungry belly with food, and allowing them abundance.

That is giving– to expect company, even if they didn’t tell you they were coming, and make them feel welcome.

I don’t have a problem with giving. I know what it is like to be needy.

I have a problem with giving to a church that becomes rich, and then withholds helping the needy. I know people do not want to be judged in the church, but it is necessary. Otherwise, the funds are used for fun and music and entertainment, but the needy go hungry, and without clothing, and without the knowledge of God. We need more real churches who pass out faith with food and try to meet the physical as well as the Spiritual needs.

It is good to give God everything. He already has everything though, and has lent it to us to help the poor, the widows, the orphans, and if we want true religion, that is what we will do, along with supporting the preaching of the gospel.

My mom preached to us against money, because she didn’t have any, and saw people in church turn up their noses to people who were poor. Whatever she did have, she gave generously. Neighbors would come over to borrow from this poor lady, my mom. They knew she was generous with the little that she had. She lived by other poor people, and often she would not be paid back.

She has passed away, and is with the Lord, experiencing all that He has. She is an heir with Christ, and one of God’s dear children. She is no longer poor, and is with her greatest love.

In a church that my mom attended as a guest, she saw a familiar face, a woman all ragged and smelling strong of alcohol. My mom knew her name and greeted her, and made her feel welcome. The regular attendees kept their distance. While my mom sat with us in the church pew, this woman sat alone, and raised her hands to God, and worshiped by herself. No one else approached her. I was barely a teenager, and this image has stayed in my mind for over thirty years.

This was the same church that I begged the pastor to pray with me, for my mom to be delivered from depression. My mom ended up in the hospital, and I went every Sunday to ask God to help her. The pastor got frustrated with my constant asking for prayer, and told me to quit praying and start believing. He didn’t want to hear it anymore.

My mom wasn’t getting better.

That was not okay for him to say, he never came to our home, never tried to visit my mom, or see if she needed anything. No cards of encouragement, no group prayers for her.

That was a turning point for me, where I got mad at God. I started hanging out with young people who drank and partied. I had no use for God, if this was how it was to be a Christian. No compassion, no understanding, no continued prayer for a family in dire need–no help. This was a church that was rich, but withheld even prayers for the poor.

Money can become a catalyst for evil. We need to be careful that churches are giving what they’ve received too.

If your church is faithful, and you have money to give, give generously with your finances, time, and talents. If you see people without clothes, food, or the gospel, give to them generously too, especially if they are in the family of Christ. By helping the least of these, you are really helping the Lord.

Thank You, Lord, for pulling me out of the depths of sin, and into the light of Christ. I, too, have zeal for You, and am angry at churches who do not practice what they preach. Forgive my bitterness, and help me to focus on You. You are the real church, and are due all glory, honor, and praise. Help me to practice true religion, and look to You for that knowledge and understanding. Lord, I am guilty of not doing everything correctly, concerning You, I need Your forgiveness too. I do not want to represent You in a bad light, or make others turn away from You. You are my Lord and Savior. Use me to present the gospel in truth and love. Forgive me for failing, and help me to be a good ambassador for You!

-Dawn-

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