Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today’s Sunday School lesson on Giving has sparked something within me that really transforms the way I think about a lot of things.  Below is my attempt to summarize the lesson as well as share my thoughts on the lesson & other related things that have since come to my mind.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a Part II pops up later!

The lesson was divided into three fundamental principles: (1) stewardship (2) giving and (3) sowing.

1. Stewardship—“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”  Psalm 24:1

A steward is one who manages another’s property, finances, or affairs.   The primary principle that we must grasp and accept in order to truly become givers is that we are stewards.  Nothing (not one thing) that we possess belongs to us.  Jesus owns everything and we are blessed to be stewards over His possessions.

Interestingly enough, this is a principle that we may say or want to believe, but it truly takes some growth, I believe, to allow our minds to be transformed into understanding, accepting, living, and practicing this belief in stewardship.  Nothing I own is mine.  When I go to work, it is by the grace of God.  Therefore, the paycheck that I draw is also by the grace of God.  It is His money.  He gives me the talent and the ability to perform my job.  Therefore, nothing I have done to purchase “my” belongings is of my own ability.  Humbling huh?

Likewise, my body belongs to God; therefore, I will carry it around this Earth in a manner that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t get to define what to do with His body/temple that He has given me.  The choices I do make must be in accordance with His Word. 

Even the breath that I breathe at this very moment belongs to God.  I think I am going to write down this principle/thought (“Nothing I have is really mine! It belongs to Jesus!) and post it in places around my office, car, and home.  My daily calendar would be a great place to put this reminder because even “my” time belongs to Jesus!!  And I sure do live by my daily “to do” list.  Truly, it is something that needs to be etched in my/our hearts in order to understand and obey the act of giving.

The second principle that the lesson discussed is that we must understand that giving is an act of worship.  Just as our prayer, fasting, and praise reflect God’s characteristics within our lives, giving is also an act that reflects the character of God.  The lesson text states it this way, “Our giving patterns either testify to the abiding character of God in our lives, or they bear witness to its absence. . . Giving is an outflow of a life that is consecrated wholly to God.”

Side note: It is also important to note that giving any kind of way does not work!  We cannot give God anything in any manner.  Giving must be done cheerfully!  (2 Corinthians 9:7) So if you’re on your way to bible study and complaining,  “I really don’t have time this week for bible study.  I have so much work, laundry, etc… to do…”  You’re giving your time, but not cheerfully!!  It is important that we not treat serving Jesus as a chore, burden, or just something on our “Christian” to-do list.  That type of giving produces little to nothing for your spiritual growth.  This is another thing that I believe takes growth and awareness.  A lot of times we are so caught up in our daily schedule and routine that we don’t realize how we treat giving and living for Jesus as just another mundane item on our to do list that we get to if we have time.  Backwards much? 

Giving begins with me.  Another portion of the lesson discussed that a prerequisite for the act of giving is to first give ourselves.  If my life belongs to Jesus then I won’t have as difficult of a time understanding that everything related to my life also belongs to Jesus.  Giving isn’t a burden. 

During the lesson I thought about the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) who told Jesus that he had kept all of His commandments from his youth and asked “what lack I yet?”  Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect to sell what he has and give it to the poor and “thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”  The man’s response?  See ya!! The Bible says the man went away “sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”  This man literally looked Jesus in the face and walked away after being told to give up his possessions.   Perhaps he didn’t understand that NOTHING that he possessed could match what Jesus was offering Him in exchange.

I should pause here and make sure that I emphasize that giving involves more than money!  While giving does involve money, there are so many other things that Jesus requires that we give—ourselves (our lives/body), our time, our talents (He gave them to you for a reason!), our spouses (any minister or deacon wives out there?  I know you understand this one!), etc… None of those things belong to us anyway.

Lastly, I note that we should really find pleasure in giving!  God does!  (Philippians 4:18) 

3.  Sowing—An Act of Faith!

The lesson states, “when the farmer purchases the seed and places it in the ground, he understands that he may not see it again.  He is, for a season, poorer than he was.  He cannot dig that seed up and use it for his own food.  Once it is planted, it is gone from him.”  I found this to be a helpful illustration of sowing.  Sowing is an act of faith.  For we believe that what we are giving will produce something, but the evidence of the product is typically nowhere to be seen.  The motive for sowing? Pleasing Jesus and blessing others!  The expectation, however, is a hope to reap because that is a scriptural promise! (Galatians 6:7-8)  The only thing that can prevent reaping is failure to faithfully sow.

So that was the Sunday school lesson! I thoroughly enjoyed it!! It really makes me think about every single aspect of life.  In particular, one thing that came to my mind while studying this lesson was some of the things we may take for granted that are gifts given to us by Jesus.  Our health, for example.  Our ability to hear, see, walk, etc… is a gift!  Our health is a gift, and while I 150% know that Jesus is a healer, during the times when I may experience bodily pain and sickness, one thing that helps me is to appreciate and praise Jesus for the times when I was fully healthy.  It was a gift that I never earned!  In that respect, I believe that it is imperative that we remain mindful of the many gifts that Jesus bestows upon us, that we may appreciate them while they last!  (“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits”!!) Psalm 68:19

Every second of every minute of every hour of every day, Jesus is giving to us whether we acknowledge Him or not (the very ability to see and read and breath right now: GIFT!).  All He asks in return is that we do likewise.  GIVE! 

I hope this lesson is a blessing to someone as it was to me!  My prayer is that it sparks something within us all to be mindful (daily) of the giving nature of Jesus, that we might strive to exemplify it in our daily lives.  Remembering that we are stewards of all that we posses.  Let’s take good care of what He has given us (start with your body!!!) and let’s use them to His glory and never be too selfish to know that we are blessed to bless others.

“For of Him, and through Him and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36


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