Yesterday we looked at the importance of knowing the giver—GOD—the giver of everything. Today we will talk about how this helps us to deal with greed and holding a grudge.
Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder asked, “Why do you think God created giving?” The truth is God did not create giving for his sake. He created it for our hearts. You see, giving is a way to work selfishness and greed out of our lives.
7 But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard hearted or tight fisted toward them. 8 Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.
God wants us to give because he knows a blessed life starts in the heart, and a selfish heart can’t handle more blessing. A selfish heart just wants to keep all the blessings for itself.
So, when does greed and grudge-holding show up in our lives? Greed rears its ugly head before we give the gift, casting doubt on whether we should even follow through. And grudging comes after giving the gift, as we grieve its loss.
For example, I have a rather expensive model railroading hobby that I’m able to primarily finance through an incentive program at work. We earn points from perfect attendance and standout performance in our jobs, which can then be redeemed for all sorts of items, including Visa gift cards. Well, I worked hard and earned two of these gift cards before Christmas. I had planned on using them toward my hobby, but then as a last-minute thought before Christmas, I decided to give them as gifts to family members.
Greed could have set in and said, “No, those are mine!” I worked hard for them, and admittedly, that thought briefly crossed my mind. Or, I could have given the gift cards only to be filled with loss and regret, and then develop a grudge because I gave away a precious opportunity to further expand my model railroad. But, thankfully, God’s love in my heart won out.
I knew in my heart that these gift cards were not truly mine in the first place. They were a blessing from God. I’m blessed to have a job right now—when so many do not. I’m blessed to be healthy enough to work—when so many are not. And I’m blessed that my employer offers such great benefits—when so many do not. All blessings come from him, and knowing all this enabled me to be joyful in my gift.
It’s important to realize that the greed/grudge scenario doesn’t only apply to monetary gifts. It applies to all aspects of the heart. We may be called to give our precious time to serve others. Greed may say, “But that’s during the big game.” Or perhaps you chose to serve during the game but didn’t receive the recognition you were expecting. Your grudge starts to set in and says, “I missed a really good game, and they didn’t even appreciate it.”
These are the times when we need to remember that God wants to give us a blessed life, but it starts with our own hearts and blessing others. When greed starts to creep in, take a moment and count your blessings. Say a prayer of thanks and give cheerfully. Remember that what you gave was not truly yours in the first place. It was given to you by God, so release the grudge.
What are your first thoughts when you have an opportunity to give? Does greed rear its ugly head in your heart? When you give, is it cheerful? Do you release the grudge?
Learn God’s guideline for developing a blessed life by reading Deuteronomy 15:4-11. Remember all that you have been given the next time you have the opportunity to give.
Heavenly Father, search my heart. Find anything in me that is offensive, and help me remove it from my life. Lead me to live a life that draws people to you. Help me live my life on earth in a way that impacts eternity.
This post was written by Ned Miller, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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