1 John 3:16-18… This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I was looking at an old devotion in a book from my confirmation/youth ministry days and wanted to share it with you. It can help us look at generosity as well as our motive for generosity.
Just a few days before Christmas, a postal worker at the main sorting office found an unstamped, handwritten, messy envelope addressed to God. Curious, he opened it and discovered that it was from an elderly woman who was in great distress because all of her savings ($200) had been stolen. As a result, she wouldn’t have anything to eat for Christmas. The man went to his fellow postal workers and took up a collection for the woman. They dug deep and came up with $180. Putting the money in a plain envelope, with no note or anything, the postal workers sent it by special courier to the woman that very day. A week later the same postal worker noticed another unstamped letter that had been addressed to God in the same handwriting. In it, he found a brief note
Thank you for the $180 you sent me for Christmas, which would have been so bleak otherwise.
PS. It was $20 short, but that was probably those thieving workers at the Post Office.
First off, I apologize to any postal workers reading this…I know you are taking a lot of heat these days.
I think that our first reaction is to laugh at that story…then we feel sorry for those generous workers who were not appreciated …and instead were blamed and accused…and maybe we feel angry at that lady who lacked gratitude and instead looked for the worst in this gift she received.
So…Here is a tough question…who would you be in this story? Have you ever been on either side of this situation?
Have you ever done the right thing, but were criticized for it?
Have you ever been blamed for something that you did not do?
Have you ever ignored an opportunity to help someone…maybe said “Why knock myself out if I’m only going to get slapped in the face?” Or avoided helping someone because there was nothing in it for you.
If that is you…I suggest you check your motive for doing good deeds!
Early on in my ministry (at another church), I was an elder. We met regularly with the senior pastor and would talk about and pray for those in financial need. To my amazement, a few days later, all of those in need found an anonymous gift in the exact amount they needed. It was a miracle…I later realized it was one of the other elders. He saw a need and helped with no pat on the back or reward. God was smiling!
And…If you are helping others while expecting to get affirmation and praise…don’t hold your breath…but instead take comfort in serving the Lord, and for being in good company! 1 Peter 2:20-21…But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this, you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
The postal workers in our story for today can take comfort in the Message translation for that verse, that says…But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.
If you get criticized for doing good, or if you think it’s not worth it…Galatians 6:9…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
God is calling you to always look for the best in others…don’t look for the $20…focus on the $180. Always look for the best in people…and always be the best you, you can be!
When you see someone doing good…let them know that you appreciate their effort.
Especially within the church…we need to affirm and encourage one another.
Always keep your eyes open for ways to help someone…and do it to glorify God…not yourself.
In the morning, most look at your day planner or scheduling app to see what you need to accomplish. I suggest that you look at your Christ-Centered action planner for each day. It is found in Matthew 22:37-39… Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
Let’s make 2021 the year that each of us are generous with our time, as well as our resources. Let us check our motives to the above verse in Matthew 22. There are so many people going through tough times…lonely, isolated, facing financial and relational struggles. Pray for them!!! Ask God to let you be the answer to their prayers.
Your smile for the day:
An old lady walked into the bank and asked me if I could help her check her balance… So I pushed her over!!