When I was growing up, my parents taught me to share with those less fortunate and to never be selfish. Dad would tell me that the poor will always be with us and it’s our responsibility to share with them whatever we have. We didn’t have much when I was growing up. But, we did learn the value of sharing and giving to those who were in need.
As I reflect upon it, we didn’t need much to get by. All we needed was a roof over our heads, clothes, something to eat and something to drink. As long as our daily needs were met, we were good for another day. We didn’t need much more in life, but God always blessed us in the best ways possible. We were able to give our excess that He blessed us with to those who needed it more. God saw fit to give us those opportunities to bless others. We didn’t have to ask God for anything. But, we were always thankful to Him for the bounty He provided us.
When I went to college, my attitude changed. I became more materialistic. I always wanted more and had to have more. I wanted the fancy cars rather than a beat up car that was reliable. I saw others around me with fancy cars and envied them. They ate in fancy restaurants and could order whatever they wanted. I had to settle for day-old bread and Hamburger Helper without the hamburger. It was at those moments when I swore that I would have a fancy car, a big house and all of the toys that a successful man could have. I wanted everything so that I could show everyone that I was successful and could have anything I wanted.
However, in time, I quickly realized that my desires and my heart weren’t focused on God. Things in my life changed and I faced problems that could have driven someone to suicide. When you lose everything, you have a choice. You can either lament over your loss or begin to reflect on your life and determine a new course. I chose the latter.
As I reflected, I realized a couple of things. I didn’t own anything. Things owned me. I had a car payment, mortgage payment, credit card bills and the list goes on. Instead of living for God, I lived and struggled for my bills. Instead of being thankful for the blessing I had received, I begged God for more of everything. When I didn’t get it, I just did what most Americans do and charged it. I always thought I would be able to stay one step ahead of the creditors. But, that is a fantasy. All it takes is one financial catastrophe and your dreams will come down crashing around you.
Instead of returning to the life of excess, I returned to my faith and the lessons that my parents had taught me. I am no longer owned by things and look for those wonderful opportunities to share my blessings with those who need help. After returning to my faith, I devoted my life totally and completely to the Lord and began to preach the Word of God. The words that I had heard as a child and I understood as a man and follower of Christ Jesus. I continue to study God’s Word and have worked to build a ministry that is dedicated to putting His Word into the hands and hearts of those who desperately need more than things in their lives.
In my study, I ran across a verse that I believe sums up exactly what we are to do as neighbors. We aren’t to turn away from those in need, but to help and give them what they need.
In chapter thirteen of the Book of Hebrews, the author writes, “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”
By giving to those in need, we are truly showing the world that we are children of the Most High God. He provides for us and we, in turn, can pass that blessing along to others. As we share, we please God. He isn’t looking for us to just stand around and say that we are Christians. He wants us to be active by helping and sharing with all those around us.
Last week in my message. I touched upon how we dictate our worship and faith. We allow the tenets of men to influence our decisions when it comes to our worship of God. When you look at the works of the early church, they devoted themselves completely to not only serving God but also serving those in need. Remember what the author wrote in chapter two of the Book of Acts.
He wrote, “They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.”
The members of that early church knew exactly what they were to do. It wasn’t to sit around and sing hymns and then go home. Their faith was grounded in a few basic principles. The first is to worship God totally and completely and to do His will. The second was to show love for not only their neighbors but also their enemies. They put their faith and love into action and worked to build God’s kingdom.
In chapter two of the book that bears his name, James writes, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
When you put all of this together, you will easily see that you are to live your life like those of the early church. All of us need to realize that life is more than just the sum of the stuff we own. Life is loving one another and sharing with all who are in need. When we do those things, we are truly living our faith daily. Our faith isn’t dead. We have combined believing with action and have turned those things into that faith that is our sacrifice that we give God daily.
Don’t let the things of this world own and control you. If you do, I can guarantee that you will be unhappy and only wanting more. It will become an endless cycle of earthly desires that will only lead to destruction. If, however, you change and realize that God provides for you daily and will always do that, then you can easily live a life devoted to serving Him and loving and sharing with those around you. Put your faith to work and dedicate yourself to doing good daily for those who need that blessing. When you do that, you can definitely stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.