This is My Crowd

This is My Crowd
Picture by: Photography by Vicky Campos

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Give Until It Doesn't Hurt Anymore

This past weekend I experienced a moment in the Dollar Tree store.  Yep, the Dollar Tree.
I was in the process of purchasing picture frames for photos which have been floating around our house for months, just waiting to be crumpled, when the cashier asked if I wanted to donate money toward some such organization.  Without even considering her question, I responded "No."  If you are wondering if it was, perhaps, an organization unworthy of my assistance, I would say it's not likely the case.  As I type this, I can't even recall which organization, but I'm sure they were doing good in the earth and could have used my few bucks.
If you are wondering if there was another reason, there's not one.  I'm just a jerk and what I am about to reveal to you next will show you just how big of a jerk I really am.
Despite my quick decline to the cashier, I did have a fleeting thought.  "If she knew how much I already give, she wouldn't ask me for more."
Can we all say wow!?
It was definitely a thought that gave me pause.  I would like to say it was a thought deposited into my mind from an alien land, but it wasn't; this thought was all mine.  It reflected what is was in my heart.  My lack of generosity.
You see, giving can be painful.  The thought of it can make me recoil immediately and violently.  On this day, a simple request for a menial amount of help was met with:

ANGER    bitterness   ingratitude   PRIDE   fear

and not

Love    Generosity    Joy    Gratitude
Fortunately, God didn't let me just feel bad for a second and move on with my day.  My heart pondered this for the remainder of the day; I even found myself contemplating the old saying "Give until it hurts."  Then suddenly the words "Give until it doesn't hurt anymore" drifted through my spirit.  You see, much like every other habit I've established in my life, I can choose selfishness or generosity, but I must practice. 
I must push through the pain of giving small to get to giving big. 
I must build up my tolerance for giving to people I love to delve into giving to people I, perhaps, don't care for or simply don't know. 
I must perceive this pain of giving as a trigger or demand to give without a another thought. 
I must be generous on every occasion, whether it be at church, at home or at the Dollar Tree.  Wait, that sounds familiar.
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.   2 Corinthians 9:10-13

Originally, I was going to only post the verse specific to being generous on every occasion, but when I began to read the verses before and after the one I wanted, I realized it was painting a bigger picture. 

Do you see it?
God is generous with us in order that we may be generous with others and our confession of the gospel is made complete in our obedience to God through our generosity to people.  There's so much more at stake than my $2. 

So, there it is, in black and white, just in case, you thought I was just making it up. 

Give until it doesn't hurt anymore.