By Gerald Bustin, Senior Pastor, Open Door Community Church, Summerfield, Florida
Last night my wife asked me, “What is your New Year’s resolution for 2018?” My answer was that I have not settled on just one but am thinking about a list of resolutions. Since then, I believe one on the list has risen to be a contender for the top-of-the-list position. Here it is:
“I WILL BE A GIVER IN 2018”
Why is that a great resolution for this year? Let me give you a few reasons that come to mind and then back them up with a personal illustration.
The First Reason is that the world’s greatest Teacher, Jesus Christ, said, “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive.”
Of course there are blessings in receiving as well. It’s always fun to open the Christmas gift and see what you have received. Jesus also taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” So He’s not opposed to us receiving. But He says the greater blessing is in being a giver. To a casual observer it might be hard to decide who is having more fun at Christmas – the children or their parents. But being a parent and grandparent myself, I would say the greatest joy is in being the giver and watching the children receive.
So, if you want the greatest blessing this year in 2018, do what brings the greatest blessing and focus on being a Giver.
Jesus went on to say that the measuring cup we use in giving is the measuring cup that will be used in giving back our blessings. The more generous we are in giving means the greater will be the blessing that comes back to us.
Of course generosity on the part of the giver is measured more by the percentage we give of what we have than the actual dollar value of the gift. Jesus was watching as people were putting money in the temple treasury. Some of the rich were throwing in what seemed to be rather large amounts. A little widow woman came by and put in a couple of almost worthless coins. Jesus surprised the people by saying, “Look, this lady has given more than all the rest.”
In answer to the questioning looks He got, He explained: “The others gave out of their abundance while she has given all that she had!”
Here is the second reason that being a giver is a great thing: The Apostle Paul said, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.” Giving is very near and dear to the heart of God because He is a giver. He loved so much that He gave the best gift He could possibly give. He gave Himself in human form. We are never more like Him than when were are giving. He loves to see His children act like Him. Do you want God to look down at you and exclaim to the Angels, “I just love … ” and call your name? Then be a giver. It makes God happy and will make you happy too.
Another good reason for being a giver is that Paul said that giving is like sowing seed. The more you sow the greater will be the harvest. The less you sow the less you will have to harvest. The law of sowing and reaping is the law of seed multiplication. From one grain of seed corn you can expect one to two ears of corn to grow on one corn stalk. Each ear of corn can have 800 grains of corn which means at least 800% return on the seed you planted.
Just think what that means if you replanted half of the grains from the ear of corn you harvested. Do the math. Half of the 800 grains of corn on the ear you harvest would be 400 grains. If each of those grains produced a harvest of one ear of corn with 800 grains you have suddenly expanded your corn harvest to 320,000 grains of corn or almost 12 bushels full!
How much benefit would you have received if you had just eaten all 800 grains of corn? The joy of enjoying one ear of com on the cob! After that no more corn! If you had eaten only one half of the ear and planted the rest of the grains you would have not only gotten more than you could possibly eat, but enough to help feed all your neighbors as well! So which produces the greater joy-selfishly eating all the grains by yourself or sowing and reaping a greater harvest?
In 1948 my father put his life on the line by going among a wild, stone-age tribe in the highlands of New Guinea. He was basically giving his life to go among people he believed to be cannibals, so he could share the love of Jesus with them.
Fortunately, instead of eating the missionary, the natives received him and the message he brought from a God of love. A mission work was started that included an orphanage, a school, a church and a medical clinic, and then expanded to impact the whole nation.
By giving himself to go and plant seeds in the rough soil of the New Guinea jungle, he started a cycle of sowing and reaping that has brought a huge harvest-thousands of people who found the blessings of the love of God. One of those orphans went on to become the Governor General, (Head of State) of the nation when New Guinea got independence and chose the name, Papua New Guinea.
You never know, until you sow your seed in giving, what the size of your harvest will be. But you can be sure of this – it will be much greater than the seed you sowed.
So why don’t you join me in making this one of your New Year’s Resolutions and determine that in 2018 we will give more than ever before as God blesses and prospers our nation?
(To Be Continued)…
Gerald Bustin is the pastor of the Open Door Community Church and President of The Evangelical Bible Missions, Inc., a religious and charitable organization started by his father with headquarters at 5200 SE 145th Street, Summerfield, Florida. 34491
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