Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Extravagant Receiving Through Extravagant Giving

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One Sided Giving?

Have you seen the billboard or maybe the YouTube videos that contain Dick and Rick Hoyt's inspirational story? This is the story of a father and son team where the son is severely handicapped and the father pushes his son's wheelchair in marathon races.

From an outsider's perspective, this relationship seems extremely one-sided, don't you think? The dad has to put in all the work to run with his son on these marathons. The father admits though that his son has given back to him, even though it may appear that Rick isn't really doing much of anything but sit in his special wheelchair. I would definitely call Dick Hoyt an extravagant giver. He has given to his son the amazing, seemingly one-sided gift of time, energy, and financial resources in order to run these races together.

Extravagant Giving And Receiving

Jesus talked about this radical idea of extravagant giving and receiving in Luke 6:38,
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Extravagant givers are extravagant receivers. Intellectually, I think most people understand this principle. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, boy, here we go, again. Larry’s getting on his stewardship soapbox to talk about giving money once again.”

I could possibly go in that direction with this verse, but let’s lay aside the “money thing” for a moment, and use a different example. Let’s talk about the giving of our personal time to others. When we invest our time into other people, we’re really investing our lives into others. Our time equals our life. Our lives are measured in time and energy.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but I’ve found that as I invest my life into other people, I begin to get more life back as a result. My life feels richer; my life feels fuller because I have chosen to give myself to others instead of using my time to pursue my own selfish pursuits. I would highly suspect that this is how Dick Hoyt feels when he gives back to his son through time and energy.

When I get this turned around in my life, when I’m being more selfish with my time, then my life feels more “hollow” and less fulfilling.

You Get Out What You Put In

This is true with anything and everything in our lives. When we give more of our time, energy, resources, or money, we aren’t in a “zero sum” or “negative” situation. We actually receive a return on our investment. And, no, it’s not always going to be an exact match on the receiving end what went out the giving end like your employer’s 401(k) plan. But, there are really rich, incredible returns for giving yourself and your stuff away for God’s purposes.

I believe that’s the point Jesus was trying to get across in this verse. When you put more into an experience, then you will get more out of that experience. “For the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

So, how big is your measuring cup in the areas of time, energy, resources, and money? Are you filling up a big cup, and then pouring out that cup generously? Or, are you being stingy with what God has loaned to you in the first place? The more generously we will give in these areas, the more we will receive back. This verse states that our measuring cup is going to be “running over” as result!

Today, I would just encourage you to “experiment” with the words of Jesus. See if what He says in Luke 6:38 is really true or not. Give more of your time, energy, resources, and money away for His Kingdom purposes and see what happens. You won’t be disappointed.

“…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

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