We took dinner to a family one night and I was horrible...it was not homemade sweetness this time, I had to pick up to go. We were in the drive through line waiting to pick the food up and Riko was asking for things. As I tried to explain to him that this time we are giving not getting he said “Why?” (Famous last words of a three year old.)
I actually love when he asks questions. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but it’s almost always a chance for me to point him to Jesus. This was a chance. He said “well we’re going to get and then give, right?”
Quite a while back there was a movie out called “Pay it Forward” where a teacher gives an assignment to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. One student creates a plan for "paying forward" favors. In return, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion a wave of kindness that blossoms into a national phenomenon.
In one of his best teaching moments, Jesus laid out for his disciples the “Beatitudes”, told of sorrows to come, speaks about loving our enemies, talks about judging others, etc. check out Luke 6 such a GREAT chapter! Nestled in there is a verse (38) “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ”
In my speech I told my son we give because God has given us so much. Not because we want something in return. We hope that if we were in the same position we would be helped out also, but that’s not why we give. We give because our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude for the way God has provided to us. We give and love because he first loved us and because he gives and blesses us so much!
Andy and I try to serve as an example of that where ever we go, just the other day a lady was struggling with a giant box that she needed to take into the store to return. Andy didn’t hesitate, he said “can I help?”, and really didn’t give her the chance to answer (he knows our culture so well) he took the box all the way through the parking lot and all the way through the store for her. It’s little things like that. The meal we were taking wasn’t much, but for someone struggling with a health issue it meant something, carrying a box isn’t much but there was no way this lady would have made it all the way back there, the kindness meant something.
I don’t think Jesus was talking only about throwing money at things in this verse. Sometimes that’s the easiest, but I think sometimes it costs more when we need to put our time or effort into something. It also means much more to the recipient. Where can you “pay it forward” today or this week? Where has God blessed you abundantly? Where can you give back out of the overflow in your heart? Helping a neighbor going through a rough time by mowing their yard, taking them dinner, picking up their groceries? Serving in a ministry at church? Coaching a child’s ball team? Becoming a small group leader? Pray about it, how would God like for you to give back.