Getting & Giving
Paul said to the Ephesian church leaders, ”. . . keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’” [Acts 20:35 The Message]
From even before conception, God saw all the bits of ‘unformed substance’ that were to become you and me [Ps 139]. He gives us about nine months of 100% physical, spiritual and emotional ‘getting’ from Mother, then suddenly we find ourselves shoved out of our comfy nest into a strange new world; but it’s still about getting.
‘Baby-just-born’, keeps on getting (and needing), love and food and Baby-care. Baby gives pleasure in just being Baby.
After a few more weeks, Baby gives a smile, and the whole family melts.
Before we know it, Baby becomes Toddler and life becomes even more about getting, and ‘me.’ Toddler usually gets what Toddler wants. These are the ‘selfie’ years, and wise parents teach their children (mostly by modeling), that others have value, and that sharing and giving of time, things, and ‘caring-ness,’ are essential qualities in a well-rounded person.
I wish I could tell you that I grew up that way. My first seven years were somewhat normal (if you can call being a missionary kid in China before and during WW2 as being ‘normal’; then for my years eight to eleven, our family of five lived in one tiny room in a Concentration Camp in Shanghai). D’ya think maybe that was normal?
With the war over, I was launched into life-beyond-family at the age of 11, living first with relatives in a ‘foreign’ country (my parents’ homeland), then four years of boarding school, followed by immigration to a new country by myself at age 17, selfishly happy to be ‘released’ from the burden of family.
It wasn’t until I was knocking on the door of middle age, and after Donna and I had turned our backs on living the dream of getting stuff, that suddenly we owned essentially nothing. Nada. To the astonishment of all, we answered a call from God, gave away almost everything and entered into a one-year, unsalaried and uncharted adventure with YWAM!
It was called living by faith.
But no worries, this was going to be just for 12 months. Or so we thought.
We had our nest egg, our safety net—a pile of wood and bricks—the beautiful home that we’d rented out and left behind. But God extended our 12-month commitment to one with no ‘expiry’ date, which has now stretched to four decades, and counting. Oh yes! After a couple of years He asked us to sell that house; so we obeyed and were all ready to invest the proceeds towards our retirement. But God had other shocking plans: “Give those profits away—joyfully—and trust Me.”
So now we really had nothing material to hang on to. But Oh! . . . the relationships that replaced all that stuff!
Cheerful giving is liberating.
Let’s be clear. With anything, we have to get so that we can give. But the greater blessing is in the giving, being generous with every aspect of our lives. If we are to give love for example, we must first get love. Giving must be a way of life.
So it is with finances, the un-mighty dollar is just part of it. The giving decision should be made even before the getting happens. Whether we earn a regular salary, get paid by the hour, have a fixed income—or live by faith—our decision to give should already be fixed in concrete. (Actually, we should all live by faith; God is our Source for everything.)
With finances, how much should we give? An amount? A percentage? I would recommend the latter; get to 10% as fast as possible—if you’re not already there—and then ask the Lord to help you increase the % every year. And don’t be surprised if the Lord drops the odd extra ‘giving bomb’ on you, messing up your percentages!
Never give expecting a return.
We seem to have had it bassackwards. We accumulate so that we (perhaps) can give away.
Living by faith is about Giving then Receiving. And though money is usually the focus of giving, it’s not just about dollars and cents. If you’re feeling condemmed after reading this, I’ve failed in what I’m trying to communicate.
It’s about being generous in all of life.
Be more blessed . . . by giving. First.
Nuggets From a Re-reading of . . .
Here are a few quotes (attributed to God), from this remarkable novel . . .
“My church is all about people, and life is all about relationships.”
“Marriage is not an institution. It is a relationship.”
“I don’t create institutions; that’s an occupation for those who want to play God.”
“I’m not too big on religion, and not too fond of politics or economics either . . . And why should I be? They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of these three?”
“Faith does not grow in the house of certainty.”
“All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice.”
“Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse.”
“Religion must use law to empower itself and control the people in order to survive.”
“Forgiveness is not about forgetting . . .
It is about letting go of another person’s throat.”
“Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver, to release you from something that will eat you alive, that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly.”
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Recently in a global gathering in Munich, Germany, the leader/facilitator, with whom Peter and I have been walking for over 20 years said to me, “Take your place as a mother.”
I responded, “I am, I don’t miss a meeting, I’m right there.” He replied, “You are to encourage, rebuke, correct, nurture, discern, speak what is on God’s heart . . . as a mother.”
In a Christian ‘organization,’ mothers are seldom recognized like they are in a regular family. Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is My brother, My sister and mother.” [Matt 12:49-50] “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” [Luke 8:21]
I always wondered where I fit on the ‘flow chart.’ It didn’t really seem that there was a place to be just a mother. When I was leading a DTS, I knew where I fit. Recently I was on a prophetic prayer Skype call and a girl who has been in YWAM for many years said, “This may sound weird, but do you know what we’re missing?” She answered her own question: “Mothers.”
In the secular world people think, but are afraid to say, “I’m just a mother.” Has the world’s thinking come into the body of Christ?
When speaking in a church or DTS, I always say to the mothers, “If God has given you children to take care of, love them and don’t let somebody else raise them. Children are the greatest gift God can give you.”
One of the greatest needs these days is for us as ‘mothers’ to take our place, whether God has given you physical or spiritual children. Love them, care for them, encourage them (and rebuke them too when necessary, as long as you have their trust and they know you want their highest good). Make them feel that they belong. If they are spiritual children, remind them they are sons and daughters of their heavenly Father, the King of Kings.
If God has called you to be a ‘mother’ to His children, it will be recognized. You will nurture them, encourage them, correct them if necessary; but most of all, listen to our Father in heaven who will tell you what each one needs . . . wisdom, discernment, love, comfort, grace, prophetic words. Just ask Him.
In all His pain at Calvary, “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
Let’s pray for ‘mothers’ to be raised up in the church; those of whom Jesus would say, “This is My mother because she is doing the Father’s will and putting His Word into practice.”
Love and Blessings,
2016 inTouch Camps & Gatherings
July 10-16: Sighisoira, Romania
July 31-Aug 6: YWAM Champagne, France
For more details go to: http://www.intouchcamps.com
September 4–11: Kansas City, USA, YWAM Family Gathering
Next year’s YWAM family gathering in Kansas City will be completely different!
If you feel you are part of the YWAM family, though you might be working in business or education or public service—or any of the spheres of influence—you are welcome.
Please note these dates and pray about joining us next September.
Each of the social spheres will have their own breakouts within the larger event. The vision for transforming nations and societies was proclaimed many years ago. Now we are making a place at the table for all those who have that vision.
You will receive much more information about this event as the time draws nearer, but please save the date for now, and please pass this message on to anyone who might be interested.
God bless you,
Lynn Green (YWAM Founders’ Circle)
and Finally . . .
I don’t grieve well.
But as I write this, my eyes are wet, two months after the death of our son Pete (which was followed days later by the passing of my older brother Ted).
From the last eTouch (in which I wrote about our loss), we received exactly 100 emails of sympathy and caring. One hundred.
I saved them all up, and have just finished reading them—in one long session—all those compassionate and caring emails.
They came from people all over the world, people we are in frequent contact with, people we knew many years ago, and people who are simply names in our database. These condolences all arrived at our ‘info’ address.
We also received many personal cards and letters and emails and phone calls from friends and relatives. Some even sent gifts as a memorial for our son Pete . . . The memorial is at a children’s camp in the beautiful Cypress Hills of Southern Alberta, Canada, a place young Pete visited only once—but loved.
All of this has been so comforting and I am deeply touched and thank you.
You have helped me to grieve.
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