Monday, March 4, 2013

Freely you have received, freely give

“Freely you have received, freely give.”  Matthew 10:8

The Lord laid this scripture on my heart the other day and as always I am compelled to share it!

I have been encouraging you all and challenging you all to embrace the notion of leading an extraordinary life. It seems almost like some vague buzzword – extraordinary – until you define what extraordinary means to YOU.  And I don’t mean living a life that the world, necessarily, would call extraordinary, I mean living a life that GOD would call extraordinary.  What I believe we all can live our lives in an extraordinary way to the glory of God.

Now, there are many, many ways to be beyond ordinary – one that really hits me from this scripture is not only using what God has given us, but taking it a step further – giving it away. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 we read the most beautiful passage.  It has often been quoted in relation to our financial giving, but I believe it truly means much more:

                “Remember this; Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written; ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.’  Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

We see there that God gives us everything we need and some extra. Why? So that we can abound or be generous on every occasion/in every good work. Now let’s tie back in Matthew 10:8.  So often, to repeat, we have heard the last part of the verse quoted as we are being encouraged to give financially – but listen to the verse in context.  Jesus is actually sending out the twelve disciples:

                “Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:6-8)

The point?  The disciples were given gifts and abilities that could be used to their own benefit, but they were better used when given away, when used to bring glory to God and help others. We have been given gifts too! Whatever your gift (or giftings), God wants you to give it away.  Trust me; he has given you plenty, so that you can do for others. Are you a good cook?  Make a meal for someone who is having a hard time, or is ill. Do you have some free time during the week? Why not find a way to be of service to someone else? Do you have the gift of encouragement? Send out a card to someone who could use a reminder that they are loved!  I bet you can think of something that you LOVE to do – why not use that to benefit someone? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture – God honors what comes from your heart.

When we hear about God loving giving people – it doesn’t always mean money.  If you take a minute, you will see that God has abundantly given you gifts that you can share with others! Your time, your attention, your smile, your service, your talents – all these and more can be used to glorify God and show someone the love of Jesus!  Freely we have been given, freely give!