Motivated Giving

 

Give 3d Words Background Generosity and ContributionA few years back in the rear view mirror my giving to the church had “fallen off”. I realize that it was a direct result of my income shrinking during the recession. As my income increased, my giving increase. I was taught as a kid to give 10% of my income. It’s easier to give when the income is small. I look at it as a principal that I’ve grown into. I now see giving as an act of worship. Thanks to technology, I can give from my phone after the deposit in my account has been made.

Giving is about way more than money. I believe giving is also about my time and resources. I can serve others with my time and energy by investing in them. Paul’s teaching to the church in Corinth was very strong and I the principle he’s speaking of is the truth. Check this out…

The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 CSB)

My giving has become a huge blessing to me. This is not intended to be a boast, because I’m not sharing amounts of giving, but I do want it to be an inspirational testimony – giving has blessed me deep within my heart. The physician, Luke, who penned the gospel Luke and the book of Acts gives a quote from Jesus that is very strong. Check this out…

In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35 CSB)

I been getting lots of counsel about growing my income and building a financial fortress. The same people who are counseling me have also shown me by example that they are givers. They are wise and discerning in their giving, but they believe in the principle of the harvest. I remember hearing a pastor say, if you can’t give on a margin of 10%, then start with 5% or 3% – start somewhere. I believe that giving should be the first thing I do with my money when I receive it. If I give the Lord the “left-overs”, I don’t feel the blessing. I like giving to Him first and then watch what He does with the balance that I have.

I work to provide for my family first and foremost.  I also work so that I can give of my time, talent and resources. I’m still growing in my giving and the Lord is still directing my generosity. I could never “out-give” God. He gave first. He loved me first. He saved me. He is the reason I give and He is the reason I live. I’m a highly motivated giver because God gave first.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Manipulation

tug of warI am not a fan of this word in the context of using control or influence to cleverly or unscrupulously mislead or direct certain behavior. Others have manipulated me and I find it pretty distasteful. I must confess that I’ve been guilty of manipulating others to get them to do what I want. This is especially handy for parents. I fight hard against manipulating my kids. There are parents who “guilt” their kids into doing things that they want done. Manipulation carries with it deceit and ulterior motive that moves it into the negative category. There is a pretty thick line between motivating someone and manipulating them.

Isaac’s wife Rebekah clearly favored her youngest son Jacob over her oldest Esau. Jacob manipulated Esau earlier to get his birthright. Isaac is now an old man, very blind and feels like it’s his last days so he wants to bless his oldest son. Rebekah overhears the conversation between Isaac and Esau and she gets to work helping Jacob manipulate his dad to steal the blessing. Check this out…

6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 “Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.” 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: 9 go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so that I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.’ (Genesis 27:6-10 NIV)

Jacob plays along with his mom do manipulate his dad. I think Isaac asked him like three times “are you Esau?” and Jacob lies. Rebekah had left nothing to chance. She dressed Jacob is Esau’s clothes which apparently sealed the deal. Check this out…

27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,

‘Ah, the smell of my son

    is like the smell of a field

    that the Lord has blessed.

28 May God give you heaven’s dew

    and earth’s richness –

    an abundance of grain and new wine.

29 May nations serve you

    and peoples bow down to you.

Be lord over your brothers,

    and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.

May those who curse you be cursed

    and those who bless you be blessed.’ (Genesis 27:27-29 NIV)

I believe manipulation is usually sprinkled with deceit and dishonesty. Motivation is creating urgency from honesty. I’m left with the question of why the Lord allowed some manipulation to happen. I believe He could have stopped it. As the story of Jacob and Esau unfold, it becomes clear that the Lord built Jacob into a strong man of deep faith. Early on it didn’t seem that Jacob had much going for him. Obviously the Lord allowed Rebekah’s and Jacob’s manipulation to work as Jacob ended up with both the birthright and the blessing. I don’t always understand God’s ways, but I’ve learned that they are ALWAYS the best.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Encourage

Helping HandsI love this word encourage. It is such a positive action word. If I’m going to encourage, I am being positive and often upbeat.  The opposite of “encourage” is “discourage” and that is pretty negative. Encourage means to inspire, motivate, influence, cultivate, strengthen, champion others or me. I believe encouragement is quite a gift that I can give others. If I encourage others, I end up receiving a blessing. Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth about parts of their worship and teaching. Check this out….

 1Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Corinthians 14:1-3 NIV)

 

I have never considered myself a prophet, but to use Paul’s definition, I may very well be. I love to encourage, motivate and inspire others to be the best they can be. I most often become encouraged and motivated during the process of speaking into the lives of others.  I don’t necessarily want to be a “motivational speaker” (made famous by Chris Farley), but I sure do want to become an encourager and an inspiration to people I meet every day.  I am inspired  and motivated to do this because of my journey with the Lord.

Pressing On!
Dwayne