Note from The Storyteller: If you have not read postings prior to the one that follows, I recommend that you do so. There is insight that may help as you walk the road toward spiritual maturity. All of the prior postings can be found at the following website: www.waiting4thetrain.com. Also, please forward this email to everyone you think would be interested in and may benefit from the devotional postings. Thank you!
“When I first began a more serious walk with God,” Stan began, “I read a book on giving from the Christian perspective. The author said something I really did not understand or appreciate at that point.”
“What was that?” I asked.
“As I remember it,” Stan replied, “the essence of what the author said is that the day tax deductions for giving to the church are done away with is the day the church will come alive.”
“No tax deduction for giving?” I responded. “Do you think that will happen?”
“I don’t know,” Stan replied. “Certainly possible. But the author of that book clearly understood the essence of Christian giving.”
“If,” he continued, “I view giving as only a means for reducing my tax liability, I am way off base. There is nothing wrong with wanting to reduce my taxes, but that cannot be my sole motivation.”
“The apostle Paul addressed this in his first letter to the church in Corinth when he wrote about the necessity of giving out of love, not so he would get something out of it.”
“Also,” he continued, “the apostle Peter said the same thing when he and John were approached by that lame man who was looking for them to give him something. Peter said he did not have any money, but what he did have was the love of Christ, and he gave that to the man by healing him of his lameness in the name of Jesus.”
“So,” I asked, “where does that kind of giving come from? It seems so contrary to what I normally think.”
“It is contrary to ‘normal’ in the sense of being contrary to the natural self,” Stan replied, “and I can only give out of the love of Christ by getting me out of the way and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct all of His giving through me. He only gives out of His first fruit, which is love.”
“If we come to the day when tax deductions for giving to the church are done away with, giving will be based solely on love. I pray that the church will, indeed, come alive.”
And if I give all of my possessions to feed the poor, . . . and do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3.
But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” Acts of the Apostles 3:6.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you give so that I will give. You bless me with all I need, and you bless me beyond my needs so that I will bless others in your name. I confess that too often I fail to give to others out of my selfishness. I may call it “being a good steward,” but you know the truth. Please forgive me. And please fill me to overflowing with your love so that I give all you have for me to give with a heart of love, totally emptied of self. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.