By Jennifer Heeren, Crosswalk.com
Our Father in Heaven knows what we need before we even ask Him. He is a good God that gives us what we need. More often than not, He does this through people around us. There is an innate want to have our needs met but also there is a deep desire to help others. That desire is put there by God so that when He prompts us to help, we will respond in kind. We give to the Church in multiple ways.
When God prompts you to give, remember that the generous will prosper and those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25). The act of giving itself is a blessing. When God prompts me, I should give what I decide in my heart cheerfully, not reluctantly (2 Corinthians 9:7). God loves it when I give out of a willing and cheerful heart. Whether you give money or even a cup of cold water, you will be rewarded by God. It is indeed more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Remember that the Church isn’t the same as a church building. The Church includes all the people that believe in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord plus the people that haven’t believed yet but someday will. We don’t know who the future believers will be so that means they could be anyone we come in contact with. Your generosity may help draw them to Christ.
Here are 7 ways you can give to the Church other than money:
1. Use Your Gifts
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 speaks of spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are given to each of us so we can help each other. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they are all given by God. God is a God of variety so your gift will look different from your neighbor. One may have the gift of wise advice. Another may have a gift of great faith. Still, another may have a gift of healing, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. One may prophesy. Another may have great discernment. There are many gifts, and every believer has at least one.
Romans 12:4-8 says to use your gifts well. God’s grace has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. If yours is to prophesy, speak it out. If yours is to serve, serve with all of your heart. If you are a teacher, teach well out of a pure heart of love. If you have the heart to encourage or show kindness, do it with gusto. If you lead others well, do it with a heart of a shepherd. The body of Christ is made up of many parts all of which have a special purpose.
All these gifts should be used to help other people. Find out what yours is and practice using it. Use them well to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10). Blessing for you and the recipient will be the result.
2. Give Your Time and Energy
Laziness will never be blessed by the Lord. Rest is blessed by the Lord with a whole day dedicated to it, but rest comes after a working session. Being lazy usually happens before the work. We are procrastinating and therefore sit still for way too long binge-watching the next streaming show, one after another.
Working hard by serving the Lord enthusiastically will bring much better and more fulfilling results. Practice your spiritual gift by using it steadily to help as many people as possible. Good use of your gifting comes only by practice. Keep doing it. Fan the ember into flames and you will help more people than you think possible. When we practice our gifts, God is with us helping our efforts to succeed. Step away from fear and timidity and into power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
3. Give Love and Compassion
All giftings work better when you do them out of love. In fact, if we don’t do them out of love, we simply make noise. Show much compassion for people. Of course, we hate it when they are doing wrong just like we hate it when we do wrong ourselves. We all have sin and deserve stones thrown at us. Put down your stones and show compassion instead. Find out why they are doing what they are doing and then love them into making better decisions.
Enjoy the company of other people. Don’t think you are better than others. They don’t know it all and neither do you. Be happy when they are happy, not envious. Weep alongside them when you see them weeping. Be there for them in whatever they’re going through. Seek to live in peace by showing honor to others as much as you can.
4. Give Grace
Even when people seem to be your enemy, don’t curse them. Pray for them. Pray for their heart to soften. Pray for them to hear God’s voice instead of their hate.
Vengeful acts get out of control quickly. People are not strong enough to handle them. Never take revenge. Leave it to God’s righteous anger, not our human, error-filled anger. A most potent prayer when people do harm against you is Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Pray this earnestly to soften your own heart and maybe theirs will soften as well. Vengeful acts will conquer you before they reach your enemies.
We often pray for our own situations, but we should also pray to spend more time praying for others. Jesus commanded that we pray for family, friends, fellow believers, and even our enemies. So, we should pray for others as much as possible. When you hear that someone is going through a hard time, pray for them. When you learn of someone committing sin, pray they will repent. When you watch, listen to, or read the news, there are a plethora of things to pray for. Our world is a mess most of the time. We all need lots of prayer, so pray multiple times a day.
We have a great high priest, Jesus, the Son of God, who is willing to listen to our pleas and sympathize with our weaknesses. So, let us draw near to Him often at His throne of grace. There we receive mercy and grace in our many times of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
6. Give Thanks
Belief in God begins with much gratitude to Him. He gave us a beautiful, perfectly crafted planet to live on. He gave us bodies that are designed wonderfully and suited for His purposes for us. God provides for our basic needs. After we believe, we also gain the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, and give us strength. God gives us so much, the least we can do is thank Him for the many blessings.
7. Live for God in Your Daily Life
We love God by serving other people. So, every day, look for ways to serve and help. Offer your bodies and your schedule to God because of all that He has done for you. Give back to Him by serving people. Making yourself available within your daily activities makes you a living and holy sacrifice. Sometimes God interrupts our daily schedules with divine appointments. Help a person who is hurt. Share with a person in need. Listen to a person’s troubles. Take a few moments to pray for someone. Smile at the person that may be having a very bad day. Sometimes helping can take a large part of your day but at other times it only takes a few minutes. Always do something to help whenever you can. And remember that we can do more than we think we can.
Don’t imitate the world’s ways of being too busy and only thinking of your own needs. Let God expand your view to include all the others that are all around you every day.
Living your daily life for God by serving others is truly the way to worship Him.
Luke 6:38 exhorts us to give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full, and not only that, it will be pressed down and shaken together to make room for more. The blessing will run over as it is poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. In other words, a lifestyle of giving is full of rewards so give wholeheartedly because you really care for other people. Sometimes the rewards are instantaneous but at other times they are building up the rewards you will receive in heaven.
And do everything with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
Photo Credit: Austin Kehmeier/Unsplash
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk. Her debut novel is available on Amazon. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at her website and/or on Facebook.