by Buzz Dahlen
People never cease to amaze me. I even amaze myself sometimes, but that is a subject for a different Pastor’s Pen. People, we have short memories when it suits us. We can forgive and forget unless it is to our advantage to hold a grudge. Someone can do something wonderful for another and then fall short and all the good is forgotten. It reminds me of words from a Janet Jackson song that was popular a long time ago… “What have you done for me lately?”
John Kennedy once challenged the people of the United States, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” or words to that effect. It is a good natural foundational statement for how we should live. If all we are looking for is what others can do for us, then we are missing so many of the blessings that God wants to give us.
The bible is full of scriptures that encourage us to give to others. 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' Acts 20:35 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
Jesus gave us a good spiritual foundational statement for how we should live: Do to others as you would have them do to you. And he goes on… "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:31-37
Jesus also gave us this word picture… "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25: 34-40
Jesus’ challenge to the believer is very simple, give, give, give! Stop looking at what you might get out of it. Stop asking, “What’s in it for me?” This is a challenge, because we are not, typically, encouraged to live this way outside of the church. But that is how we are supposed to live…
As I remind you this week, I remind myself that God has so much to give and He has given us all so much... Maybe God is trying to employ you and I to help Him give to others. I know that during the Christmas season, people are very generous. Often times I am asked to help them give to others. What a blessing it was to bless others. There was so much to give away that I had to find others to help me. I promise you that I was more blessed to give it all way then I would have been if all of it had been given to me. When blessings are delivered, the delivery person gets the hug.
Ask not what God can do for you; ask God what you can do for others…