October 26, 2016
Learning to Give Joy Away, Part 2
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:12, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I once heard a story that offers a great prescription for joy. A young believer came to a man who had followed Christ for many years with the complaint that he had lost his joy. The older and wiser Christian responded, “Go do something for someone else. Repeat that act of kindness nine times. Then you will find joy.”
When we develop the habit of looking for a need and then meeting that need, we will experience joy as never before. Many times, instead of looking for a need, we look the other way.
One of the most amazing paradoxes in the Christian life is that the more we give, the more we receive. We simply cannot out-give God!
In Luke 6:38 we find an amazing promise, "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving - large or small - it will be used to measure what is given back to you."
If you want joy, learn to invest your life in others. Be on the lookout for a need and meet it. God created us to share each other's load. A shared load is a lighter load.
F.B. Meyer once noted: "I used to think God’s gifts were on shelves - one above another so that the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves, one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get."
The apostle Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 9:10, "For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will give you many opportunities to do good, and He will produce a great harvest of generosity in you."
- Give your time.
- Give encouragement.
- Give a praying heart.
- Give a listening ear.
- Give yourself.
- Give materially.
The more you give, the more joy you will experience. The more joy you have, the more you will want to give. God always rewards "joy-givers."
Philippians 4:17-18 "Really, it is not that I want to receive gifts from you. But I want you to have the good that comes from giving. Your gift is like a sweet-smelling sacrifice offered to God. God accepts that sacrifice, and it pleases Him."
The idea of a sweet-smelling sacrifice is taken from the sweet-smelling incense that was burned along with the Jewish sacrifices. When we meet a need in the life of someone, it is a pleasing aroma to God and a sacrifice of praise to Him. In fact, when we meet someone's need, we are actually giving through that need to God Himself. In other words, that met need becomes a deposit slip in our kingdom account. The perspective and heart behind the giving really matters. Joy-givers please God.
Three men were hired to work on a large building project. One was asked, "What are you doing?" He responded, "I'm mixing mortar. The second man said, "I'm helping put up this great stone wall." When the third man was asked what he was doing, he replied, "I'm building a cathedral to the glory of God." Perspective is a powerful thing.
In Philippians 4:19, Paul goes on to say that when we meet the needs of others, God will meet our needs. "My God will use His wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need."
When we give out of our limited resources, God gives out of His unlimited resources. What a solid foundation for a life of joy!
God stands today, arms open wide, ready to pour out His unspeakable gift of joy into our lives so we can have joy … and so we can share that joy with others. Our gift back to Him is to be a joy-giver.
Father, please forgive me when I am so focused on what I can get that I ignore what I can give. Help me see others as You see them, to love others as You love them, and to give like You give. May I be a vessel through which Your joy flows into the people around me.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
- Read 2 Corinthians 9:8. What does this verse promise to those who give generously?
- Would others describe you as a generous giver?
- What do you think the link is between giving and joy?
- What change(s) do you need to make in your life in the area of giving?
More from the Girlfriends
Did you know that you were created for joy? Jesus lived and died so you can live an abundant life. Yes, this world is broken and filled with pain. But if God really is who He says He is ... and He is ... then we can learn to laugh more and live better lives. Mary’s CD, Laugh More... Live Better is a refreshing message filled with humor and principles that will empower you to become a joy-giver.
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Originally published Wednesday, 26 October 2016.