By David Brandt Berg
You may have noticed the contented aura, even radiance, of people who make it a habit to give. Whether it’s time, money, help, friendship, or encouragement, they always seem to not only be content themselves, but to have enough to share with others. Jesus explained how this can be so: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)
If we give to others, yield to their wishes to make them happy, or put their needs above our own, we can sometimes feel like we’re losing out. But we’re not really. God sees such unselfishness, and He will reward it. You never lose by giving.
The trade up
A story is told of a well-to-do lady who had become a Christian late in life. One day she was walking along a city street accompanied by her granddaughter. When a beggar approached them, the lady listened to his tale. She then took a bill from her purse and placed it in his palm. At the next corner a Salvation Army volunteer was waiting, and the lady dropped a gift into her kettle. Her granddaughter looked at her with curiosity and then said: “Grandma, I guess you have lost a lot since you became a Christian, haven’t you?”
“Yes,” said the lady, “I have. I have lost a quick temper, a habit of criticizing others, and a tendency to spend all my spare time in frivolous social events and pleasures that mean nothing. I have also lost a spirit of greed and selfishness. Yes, indeed, I have lost a good deal.
“And what I have gained is invaluable!—Peace of mind; power in prayer; a Friend who is always with me, who knows, loves, and protects me; fulfillment and richness in life that I never knew existed; faith that allows no room for fears; a promise of a wonderful heavenly home when I’m through with this earthly one—and much more! Yes, I’m happy about what I’ve lost, and what I have gained is priceless!”
The Bank of Heaven
“Take this to the poor widow who lives on the edge of town,” the old German shoemaker told his young apprentice, handing him a basket of fresh garden vegetables. The shoemaker worked hard at his trade and cultivated his little garden patch to make ends meet, yet he always seemed to be giving away what little he had.
“How can you afford to give so much away?” he was asked.
“I give nothing away,” he said. “I lend it to the Lord, and He repays me many times. I am ashamed that people think I am generous when I am repaid so much. A long time ago, when I was very poor, I saw someone even poorer than I. I wanted to give something to him, but I could not see how I could afford to. However, I did give, and the Lord has helped me ever since. I have always had some work, and my garden grows well. Since then I have never stopped to think twice when I have heard of someone in need. No, even if I gave away all I have, the Lord would not let me starve. It is like money in the bank, only this time the bank—the Bank of Heaven—never fails, and the interest comes back every day.”
God may not always reward you in mere dollars and cents; His reward may be in the form of protection from accidents, misfortunes, or serious illnesses that would have cost you a hundred times more than anything you may have given. But in whatever way it comes, He will reward you.
Give, and it will be given unto you!
According to legend, there was once an abbey which had a very generous abbot. No beggar was ever turned away, and the abbot gave all he could to the needy. The strange thing was that the more he gave away, the richer the abbey seemed to become.
When the old abbot died, he was replaced by a new one with exactly the opposite nature—he was mean and stingy. One day an elderly man arrived at the monastery, saying that he had stayed there years before and was seeking shelter again. The abbot turned the visitor away, saying that the abbey could no longer afford its former hospitality.
“Our monastery cannot provide for strangers like it used to when we were wealthy,” he said. “No one seems to make gifts towards our work nowadays.”
“Ah well,” said the stranger, “I think that is because you banished a brother from the monastery.”
“I don’t think we ever did that,” said the puzzled abbot.
“Oh yes,” was the reply. “And he had a twin. The one you banished was called ‘Give’ and his twin was ‘It shall be given unto you.’ You banished ‘Give,’ so his brother decided to go as well.”