But beyond what we're given is what we do with what we've received.
From an early age, Mom and Grandma taught me the importance of blessing others without getting something in return. Every week, or every other week without fail, we'd topple into the car, drive to town, and find random people to bless.
A Family Tradition
Sometimes, it was the homeless person standing outside our car window. Others, it was the man in need inside a nursing home. Most days, it was a friend, family, or stranger who simply needed to be cheered up.
As I grew, I took this habit with me. In high school, I'd leave notes for teachers and my closest friends. I made it my ambition to forego selfish desires and use any funds I had to purchase gifts for others. People generally didn't understand it. Sometimes, neither did I.
When I reached college, I followed suit. The remarks I often received were striking. People started to question my motives and intentions. I felt hurt. Why couldn't others understand that I wanted nothing from them? Why couldn't others understand that I was just trying to represent Jesus in a dark world?
Today, I often face the same remarks.
As a twenty-something adolescent, I'm enrolled in a program to become a full-time author. One of the perks of the coursework is that it focuses on building others up by blessing them. For the last 150 days, we've been challenged to bless without expecting anything in return. The results have been astounding.
What the Bible Says About Blessing Others
But should I be shocked? Scripture tells us this: "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell" (Proverbs 11:25-16, NIV).
Matthew 25 takes this verse a step further in the parable of the three servants:
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money."
Notice that God gives each man a different amount of silver, but each is entrusted with something. God knew then and knows now what we can handle. But beyond what we're given is what we do with what we've received.
“After a long time, their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’ “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’ “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
Would you have earned five more bags? Maybe even two? What about today? Do you give what you have been given? Do you use the gifts God's given you to produce and reap more for His harvest? Or do you waste your gifts? Do you waste your time? Are you stingy with your money? Does your bank account define your heart?
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it on the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more, will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 25:14-30, NLT).
While it's an extensive passage, Scripture is clear. We, as Christians, are called to not only bless others with what we've been given but to use our gifts to turn people to the Kingdom of heaven. And how do we do this? By blessing others. In any way, shape, or form we can. As the Passion Translation interprets:
While it's an extensive passage, Scripture is clear. We, as Christians, are called to not only bless others with what we've been given but to use our gifts to turn people to the Kingdom of heaven. And how do we do this? By blessing others. In any way, shape, or form we see fit. As the Passion Translation interprets:
"Then the King will turn to those on his right and say, ‘You have a special place in my Father’s heart. Come and experience the full inheritance of the kingdom realm that has been destined for you from before the foundation of the world! For when you saw me hungry, you fed me. When you found me thirsty, you gave me a drink. When I had no place to stay, you invited me in, and when I was poorly clothed, you covered me. When I was sick, you tenderly cared for me, and when I was in prison you visited me.’ “Then the godly will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and give you food and something to drink? When did we see you with no place to stay and invite you in? When did we see you poorly clothed and cover you? When did we see you sick and tenderly care for you, or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least of these, my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for me'" (Matthew 25:34-40, The Passion Translation).
Looking Back at Blessings
Over the last 150 days, I've received countless emails from people who read my blogs. I've also received immense encouragement and affirmation from those who support me.
God has continually surprised and blessed me financially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. Always in ways I didn't see. Always in manners I would never expect. But He is faithful.
And really, I shouldn't be surprised. Yet, here I am. Humbled and at a loss for words for how He continually provides for me. Because any good thing I do is Him. It's His Spirit within me, and I will give all glory to God.
Blessing other people comes from Him.
And there is such a rich blessing in blessing others.
"Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that they will run over the top! The measurement of your generosity becomes the measurement of your return" (Luke 6:38, The Passion Translation).
Let it be clear: We don't give to receive. We give to become more like Jesus. We give to represent Him. And no matter how we give or what we choose to give, we are obeying the two most important commands: Love God and love others.
“So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends" (John 15:12-14, The Passion Translation).
It will be judged by the world.
They will not understand it.
But give anyway.
And keep on giving.
Those who don't get it don't get Him.
It's our job to help them meet Him.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ridofranz
Amber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk,