To Give Or Not To Give
by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
It was a rough night at the Olson household.
My middle child, Tessa, loves to do art. She's really very good, if I do say so myself. So, recently I bought her some canvases, set up an easel, and told her she could paint. She was thrilled! Well, of course, it wasn't long before her little brother wanted to paint too. I originally suggested he use a big piece of art paper, but we were out. Fortunately, Tessa had an extra canvas, so I asked her to share her canvas with Will, and I would go out and get her more canvases the very next day.
That was not at all acceptable to Tessa. She threw a fit. I explained, through clenched teeth, that although she would be sharing this one piece of canvas today, tomorrow she would have as much canvas as she needed. She refused. What she didn't understand, however, was that this was not a battle she could win. I explained that she had a choice. She could either share her canvas with her brother and have more tomorrow, or she could choose to keep her canvas and lose that canvas and any future canvases she may have received. Through many tears, much stubbornness, and pride, she finally did apologize and relented. Her brother was able to paint on the much-coveted canvas.
As I walked away from this unfortunate battle, I realized this was another analogy of the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. Matthew 7:11 shows us that if a mom like me can be generous, how much more generous will our Father be? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (NKJV)
Look at what 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 tells us. "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (NIV)
When God calls us to give, He wants us to do it cheerfully and generously. Sometimes it hurts, doesn't it? Sometimes God calls us to give our very last canvas, as it were. But He promises us that when we are obedient in our giving, He will bless us. It may not always be with another canvas, but it will always be with what we truly need, because "my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19 NKJV)
The truth is that everything we have is given to us by God. Just like that canvas was ultimately mine (purchased by me, given by me), every blessing we have under heaven is His. Since it's not even ours, shouldn't we freely give it away? Thank you, Lord, for what you give us! It's Yours to use as You wish!