Going Deeper with the Message:
Living Through Giving
by: Ben Biles
The heart of giving is counterintuitive to our natural instinct. In a survival of the fittest mindset, we want to hoard our resources in order to feel secure. We want to keep all that we gain in order to build even more security and protection for ourselves and our future. What we give away today might be what we need later on in order to survive. So when God tells us that we need to give, the instinctive reaction is “No, that’s mine! I worked hard for this and I deserve to reap the rewards. Can’t God just give them what they need on His own?”
This mindset is toxic though. It focuses completely on the self at the expense of all others. This self-centeredness poisons the mind as we view others only as competitors. What we need instead is a change of heart that aligns with the generous nature of God. After all, if everything is created by God, everything belongs to Him anyway. Because He is generous in giving to us, we need to be generous in giving as well. As John writes, “If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?” (1 Jn 3:17). Our love translates into our desire to give just as Jesus’ love led Him to give His life for ours.
As Tim said on Sunday, “We live to give.” We are given everything by God for the expressed purpose of helping others and blessing them. This happens through giving financial resources as well as through giving our time, lending our skills and abilities to serve, or maybe just being there for someone in a vulnerable moment. When we give away our own resources, we signal to God that He is what we truly need and that He is our security. We trust Him to provide and protect us. We stop relying on the fleeting security money and other resources seemingly provide.
Through this, we are freed from worry in order to spend our mental and physical energies loving others. As Paul writes, “God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Our lives are transformed by giving as we walk more and more in the will of God, spreading his Gospel message through our words and our actions.
Living out the Message:
By Ben Biles
When we talk about giving in the context of church, our minds naturally think of giving financial resources. Yet, we recognize greater things than money when we think of the higher needs of others. Above all things, humans desire to be loved—to know and be known by others and by their Creator. While we might have a limited amount of financial resources to help and bless others with, we have a limitless ability to love and show kindness.
Anyone saved by the grace and love of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, Son of God, understands the sacrificial nature of God’s love. He loved us and gave Himself for us so that we would love and give ourselves of others. We seek to replicate God’s love over and over through our acts of kindness in our communities and social circles. Paul writes in Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22). Our kindness is evidence that the Spirit of God is working within us and through us. When others see our kindness, they understand that we are aligned with the character of God. We preach God’s goodness with our kind actions.
If we are able to testify to God’s goodness with our kindness, then that would place upon every believer a responsibility to show kindness and love. John writes, “And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:21). Yet, we often let ourselves get distracted by the urgent things we tend to day by day. Instead, we must focus our minds and hearts on God’s commandment to love and in so doing, bless others with kindness.
At The Ridge, we are in the middle of our Kindness Campaign, which is a three-week movement designed to share kindness with our community through our giving. We are encouraging everyone this week to do something kind for someone in your life. It can be anything. You can set aside time for prayer for others. You can serve someone in a unique way. You can reach out to someone who needs encouragement and love. You can write a note. You could reach out and support a local non-profit. It’s completely up to you. Just know that when we show kindness in Jesus’ name, we preach God’s goodness.