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More blessed to give
- Jacob Ninan
Why are so many people willing to give their 'seed' money to preachers? Is it not because they are looking for a great harvest, a hundredfold, if possible? Perhaps they are looking for great returns for their investment, in terms of money, or for other benefits like healing, or miracles. Are they turning to God because they want to get something from Him?
Look at another group of Christians, a much smaller group, who are giving themselves to God, giving their time, energy, skills and money, to serve Him. Not all of these are so-called 'full time servants of God'. Many of them are earning their own living and serving God. But they don't seem to be occupied with getting something from God as much as in giving to God. Why do they do this? It's because they love God.
Which of these groups do we belong to?
I am not trying to imply that it's wrong to want anything from God! We need God, and we also need His spiritual and material blessings. Jesus Himself taught us to pray for the things we need, and to ask so that our joy may be full (Mt.6:11;Jn.16:24). But He made a distinction between those who followed Him out of love and others who followed Him because they wanted something from Him (Lk.22:28;Jn.6:26).
When Jesus summarised the whole of God's commandments He said that what God really wants us to do is to love Him with all our heart (Mt.22:37). What He has towards us is love, and what He wants from us is also love. How sad He is when He finds that what we are really interested in are the things we think we can get from Him!
Do you think that God cares much for those who are selfishly seeking things for themselves? Oh, He loves them, to be sure. He loves everyone, for that matter. He gave His only Son to die for us because He loved us even though we were selfishly seeking things for ourselves. But is He happy with people who claim to have become His children, or think they are His children, because they have uttered the magic formula, "Jesus, come into my heart", and then live as selfishly as they did before?
Perhaps a large number of people are fooling themselves thinking that they have become children of God, because virtually no change has come in their thinking, attitude or behaviour. I am not saying this in a judgmental way.
On the other hand, those who have seen themselves as unworthy sinners and come to Jesus in repentance, and experienced the washing away of their sins by His blood as an unmerited gift of grace from God, are so thankful to Him that they cannot think of anything but about what they can do for Him. Such people learn to give themselves for God, and, paradoxically, begin to experience receiving manyfold blessings from God! They experience the truth of what it means to seek God first and how all other things will be added to them! (Mt.6:33). (Again, not as a formula for getting all things!)