On Earth...

In Matt. 6:10, Jesus calls us to pray with words like this: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven." "On earth..." messages are the reflection of various local writers sharing common experiences in daily living and then guiding renewal of the mind and spirit from God's Word. It is scheduled to appear on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Here Am I, Send Me

The Miracle of Giving

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Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, it will be measured to you. -- Luke 6:38

[January 19, 2008]  Somewhere between childhood and maturity we hopefully lose the baby's total preoccupation with self (feed me, change me, rock me and feed me again).

The fortunate ones finally realize how good it feels to become less self-focused and become aware of the needs of those around us, and to direct our attention to giving to others. We can give of ourselves -- our time, our service and our good deeds. And, we can give of our substance -- money, food, clothes, property.

A true indicator of Christian maturity and validity is when we become outward in our worldview, more concerned about the welfare and well-being of others than we are about ourselves.

The spiritual law of reciprocity that Luke declares is that the act of giving triggers a miraculous response from God. Succinctly stated by Luke, when we give, we are going to receive. The receiving part has nothing to do with us but is a supernatural, miraculous gift that God promised to us.

My mother was an example of how the miracle of giving works. On the surface, as society observes, she would not have been thought of as influential. She was average in her education and not interested in the pursuit of world knowledge or events. She was not a social climber nor ever aspired to be a part of any social organization other than her church. Rather than being a leader, she preferred others to lead and saw her role as assisting the leader. She was not dogmatic or assertive.

Where she excelled, however, and excel she did, was in the area of giving. She loved to give of her substance. If she had any extra money, she discovered someone who had a need, and the money was quietly slipped to them.

She loved to bake and give her breads, pies and pastry to others. If you entered her home, she insisted you have a meal. No one ever left her house hungry.

She loved to give of herself. She prayed for everyone in her family every night, one by one. She made herself available for any family need. She was always available to baby-sit, to counsel or be a confidante.

She loved to send cards to people for every occasion. She not only sent the card but wrote a personal note that started at the end of the card's message and continued to the bottom, to the side, to the back, to whatever white space was available. She did not stop writing until she had run out of blank space on which to write.

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She loved people. She gave everybody a hug even if she had just met you for the first time. If you got close to her, she would reach out to you and pat your face. She exuded Christ's love through acts of giving.

The result of all this giving on her part was an overwhelming outpouring of love and giving toward her, just as the Scripture said would happen: "Give and it shall be given unto you." When Mom became a nursing home resident, my family witnessed the fulfillment of this Scripture. We witnessed a supernatural outpouring of love and affection and honor by people who had been the recipients of her giving.

The members of her church were frequent visitors and monitors of her well-being. Her church family was faithful to minister to her, to keep her informed, to pray for her, to bring her the sacraments of communion and keep her close and intimate with the body of Christ.

Her biological brother and sisters also frequently visited her, took her out to eat and shared with her the updates of her natural family.

The promised "given unto you, pressed down and shaken together" was demonstrated and proven in her life. One Christmas, she personally received 256 Christmas cards.

At the nursing home, after Dad died, she received a steady stream of people who wanted to visit her and minister to her. Her children and grandchildren were constant visitors. Her neighbors at the nursing home wanted to spend time with her. Then she, too, died.

At her funeral, people came from long distances to honor her, to praise her and thank her for the influence she had been in their lives. Her pastor was brought to tears as he related the respect and honor she had given to him. She was loved by all who had known her.

If we can receive and incorporate her example of being outward in our view of things, to become aware of the needs of those around us and to direct our attention toward giving to others, then we will experience, as she did, the miraculous certainty of being the recipient of God's orchestrated, abundant blessings.

Thanks, Mom.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed. -- Proverbs 31:28


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