Surprised by AbundanceBy
These last few months have been financially draining. Because of a bad manager we had to do extensive repairs on some apartments. This came on top of just recovering from 2009 which was challenging in the financial services industry to say the least.
At this time of year we do our year end charitable giving. Like many others we try to give out around ten percent. We feel it’s a way to give back to God for all he’s given to us. And it feels good to share with others who have far less.
But this year it’s a struggle. The outflow has come since August so we’ve no time to make it up. So I’ve been feeling under pressure about how to give our normal level when the cash just isn’t there.
The night of Thanksgiving I was in bed drifting off to sleep. Jennifer was out in the kitchen finishing up some dishes. I had reached my expiration when my brain closes up shop at which point I become less than helpful.
As I drifted off, on this cold fall night, I thought about the warmth and comfort of our snug bed. We had finished eating more than enough and spent the day with family. I was thankful.
Yet, I thought about those who that night were going to bed hungry, afraid and cold sleeping under make-shift shelters. And I wondered, “Why do we have so much and others so little. I’m so blessed because I was born in this country to parents who stayed married and raised me well.”
That’s what drives my desire to give back monetarily and through writing and volunteering.
God has blessed us with so much but I was struggling with the issue of this year.
I recently read a quote from Chris Guillebeau that stuck with me, “A much better approach is to fully integrate the need for contribution with our own dreams and goals. . . . Our lives are connected with others, and the more we explore these connections, the better off we ourselves will be. What can you offer the world that no one else can?”
I like the idea of purposely connecting our lives with others. Offering what we alone can share to help make their lives better.
Yet, we have that noble dream when the reality of everyday hits with its responsibilities and burdens.
By the end of the month or the end of the year we’re lucky if the inflow equals the outflow let alone having more left to give.
So we may give something to the United Way or throw a couple of bucks in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas. Or if we go to church, invariably the annual giving pledge drive happens around this time of year. So now we not only don’t have near enough for the tithe but we feel guilty on top of it. God for sure will punish us because the preacher said so. “We’re stealing from God.” Wow, how did something so positive end up being so negative?
For me I went back and reread a passage in the Bible I’ve read many times but this time through different eyes.
I saw an instruction that instead of being burdensome was releasing.
“Remember this: The person who plants a little will have a small harvest, but the person who plants a lot will have a big harvest. Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7, NCV)
That‘s freeing. It tells me to give out of my passion.
Then I will plant boldly and the harvest will be amazing.
This includes my time that I devote to this blog and volunteer activities. It includes my career of trying to help people live financially successful lives that will positively impact their marriages, families and the people around them.
It also includes my financial giving. But instead of following a formula it leaves it open for passion. Where do I see the needs I’m passionate about solving? Where do I see the hurts that I cry for? It flows out of compassion not obligation which brings joy in the sharing.
What sets me free to give in this way is the belief that God is continuing to provide for me so I can follow my passion in helping others. God has already blessed me with so much and will continue to. So I’m free to spend lavishly in giving to others. What a freeing belief.
And the apostle Paul wrote, which seals the deal for me, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)
God, in his grace, delights in giving me all I need and gives me extra to share. More than enough time, gifts, desires and money. I get to use those extra gifts to unleash in my life the richness that pours back to me through that passion.
What abundance! How surprising.
What about you? Have you found that abundance?
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