Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks here in California as many fires have broken out laying to waste acres of destruction, turning beautiful homes into ash and even taking people’s lives. The phrases, “worst fire in history,” “deadliest firestorm ever,” are again hitting the headlines. Not only that, but “another mass shooting!” The statement and reality is horrific, but what brings even more pain is the gut wrenching blow in the word ‘another’; another unsuspecting group ravaged at the hand of evil, another crowd running for their lives, another barrage of news reporters looking for a motive, looking for a reason, looking for the story.
It has been a rough week where people have lost everything, barely escaping with only the clothes on their back. It’s been a week where loved ones have died and people, people with hopes and dreams, and family and friends were senselessly murdered. It’s been an awful week.
In these devastating realities where is the hope? Yes, in the comfort and help of God.
Matthew 11: 28-3O Come to me (Jesus), all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
God does care and much of the time the help God brings is from the hands of people who are willing to help, giving of their time, giving of their abilities, and giving of their resources.
Acts 2:45 And they (the first churches that followed Jesus) were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
To lean in and give has been, and is, an expected reality of people who call themselves followers of Jesus or Christians. See, God is generous.
2 Corinthians 9:10-11 He (God) who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way.
God gives us time, talents, abilities and resources so we would be generous towards other, especially in times of need.
Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.
Proverbs 11:24-25 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will, himself, be watered.
When we lean in and give, it not only helps but also brings hope. I love the words of Fred Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping…and if you see the helpers there is hope.” When we lean in and help we can be used of God to bring hope.
In this week of tragedy, there have been numerous examples of people bringing hope through giving. I was watching the news and the reporter was asking people who were rescuing animals displaced from the fire what they needed. The person said they needed some horse trailers. By the time I turned off the news that morning, a few horse trailers had shown up. It visibly encouraged the rescuers. In the horror of the shooting and the craziness of people fleeing, off-duty officers and medical people with knowledge of first aid were seen administering help. People later shared how these people were like guardian angels. All through this week of struggle people have given donations of food, blankets, temporary housing and money to help people in need. It has and is bringing hope! It shows that though there are tragedies that happen, and yes, even evil and hurtful people who spew their deadly venom, there is hope when we give. So let’s lean in and give as we see needs.
Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Church can be a great place to be inspired to give for we learn of our generous God. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We are in the midst of a Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net.
Leaning in and giving along with you,