Third, instead of yielding to the fleshly & worldly ways of surviving life, enter into the privilege of the blessed MPD life through generosity!
Acts 20:35 says:
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
This passage is part of Paul’s farewell speech to the elders of Ephesus (a great read, by the way, because it shows the heart of the apostle to finish his God-given mandate). From this verse, as well as many related Scripture, we discover that generosity is a major key to experiencing the abundant life that Christ promised. If we avoid His commands to give and rationalize our uncertainties and fears of the future by keeping our time, resources and energies mostly to ourselves, we miss out on God’s supernatural intervention & outpouring of heavenly blessing in our lives.
I learned an important lesson from a fund development training in Jakarta last year. Our instructors exhorted us to encourage generosity by talking about it. Normally, we don’t want to share our acts of kindness because the Bible says to do our merciful/good deeds in secret (Matthew 6:4). But the real issue here in the passage is the attitude of the heart. When we seek personal glory & power through our giving, we lose our reward in heaven. But those who give out of pure hearts of wanting to bless the Lord and His people, whether privately or publicly, will get their heavenly reward (e.g. Zacchaeus, the tax collector; the poor widow who gave her last mite; Jesus’ & the early disciples’ many acts of radical generosity).
Going back to Paul’s statement in Acts 20, he asserted that he worked hard so that he could help those in need or are weak. Isn’t this a great motivation for our MPD? May our hard work and the resulting fruit become a blessing to those, whom God impresses to us, are in need. Just last month, a corporate ministry partner gave a significant amount for our building upgrade. Every time we meet with him and his wife, both never fail to give God glory for giving them the ability (i.e. wealth) to be generous to our organization.
(Image from: playeatgrow.com)
One of my opportunities for giving comes before our personal MPD time. I have made it a ‘habit’, since my single days and up to now as a wife, to sow generously, in order for me not to be preoccupied with my own needs and to break the tendency to be selfish with my time, resources and energy.
Many years ago as a single, God impressed upon me to be involved in our church building project by investing a faith amount. When I looked at the people in our church and their capacity to give, I felt that my gift was small, maybe even insignificant. The story of the widow with her last mite served as a strong reminder that the heart mattered more than the amount. Under the Spirit’s prompting, I released the gift as an act of worship. This weekend, I will be seeing the fruit of the generous involvement of God’s people as the new facility of our church opens its doors for its first worship service!
The Lord is faithful to His promises of overflowing blessings as a result of these faith seeds that we’ve planted. Generous giving is pleasing to God and is a way for us to express worship. As we give, we can pray: “Lord, I am your steward. You are the owner. Thank you for commanding us to participate in this privilege of giving, and for Your promise that I’ll be living my life with the backing of Your favor and Your limitless Kingdom resources.”
The joy of having ministry partners who are faithfully praying and giving, and the testimony about God’s character & faithfulness that we present to the watching world (both unsaved & saved) are two of the many blessings that our missionaries experience through MPD. It’s definitely not an easy process to go through, but the rewards of obedience are worth it.
May our time in MPD bless the heart of our Lord as we honor Him by enthusiastically inviting His people to be involved in His Great Commission!