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Today’s Truth

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5

Friend to Friend

My husband is a surrendered giver. I struggle with giving. I tend to blame my reluctance to give on the fact that I grew up in a shack on the edge of town. My mother often worked two and three jobs a day just to put food on the table. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a middle-class family, lived in a very nice house in a beautiful neighborhood, and never had to worry about having his needs met. You can see where my rationalizations took me. Yep – to a place of sin.

God wants us to surrender everything we have to Him because the reality is that giving is the antidote to selfishness. I can choose to be selfish or selfless. But I need to live in a way that searches for opportunities to be generous. Over the years, Dan has taught me so much about what it means to be a surrendered giver.

We are to give as much as we are able to give. Two years ago, we downsized so that we would have more money to give away. We both drive older used cars. There is nothing wrong with buying a new car or a bigger house – unless it affects our ability to give.

The church in Macedonia saw giving as a privilege. We need to do the same.

We need to look for opportunities to give. Love gives. For God so loved the church that He … gave! A surrendered giver gives out of gratitude for what God has done in his life and is willing to stretch and develop a generosity reflex when presented with a need.

Jesus measures what we give by what we have left. Do you tithe the ten percent we are challenged to give? How would you respond if Jesus asked you to double your tithe? Whoa! That is a lot to ask – right?

We have a friend who attended a conference where the speaker challenged each attendee to double their tithes and see what God would do in their lives. Our friend accepted the challenge and has seen his business mushroom into a huge success. Today, he not only gives a double tithe, but he also gives to meet the needs of many in our community. He is also one of the most humble and unassuming people I have ever met.

Another friend has a great way to look for opportunities to give. He has two accounts. One for his living expenses and then there is his God account. He is a Day Trader. Each morning he gets up and says, “Where are we going to give today, Lord?” I know this attitude absolutely delights the Father who is the ultimate surrendered giver.

The reality is that if my checkbook does not reflect my faith, I have an immature faith. God does not need my money. He wants me to give so He can bless me!

How about you? What kind of giver are you?

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for being the ultimate giver when You sent Your son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. Change my heart. Teach me to become a servant who holds the things of this world loosely. Use me to help meet the needs of others. Transform me and help me learn to be a surrendered giver. I am Yours, Lord!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

God always reveals His plan to a seeking heart. Are you willing to do whatever God asks you to do? Give whatever He asks you to give?

Read Jeremiah 29:11 and record it in your journal. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).

Ask God for His direction.

Pay attention to the passion of your heart.

Realistically evaluate your abilities and talents.

Consider the advice of those who know you best.

Then step out in faith, trusting God to help you make the right choice about giving.

More from the Girlfriends

When it comes to being a surrendered giver, trust can be a scary proposition … unless you are sure of the person you are trusting. Mary’s book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, will help you take that step of faith.

And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

8 Responses to “The Surrendered Giver”

  1. Sonda says:

    I pray that God will help me to not be embarrassed about being poor, but will instead help me to see it as the opportunity that it is.

  2. Jean says:

    Always. Always … Spot on. God loves a cheerful giver. It is better to give than receive. God blesses us so that we might bless others. These and other truths I learned as a child in an unchurched family, where I learned to give if only a smile that someone else needed. I always wonder if I give enough, but know that we can never out-give God. Praying that He will always guide me to give until my hurts are gone. Thank you, Mary. Teachable moments you always bring!

  3. Leni says:

    And again Mary thank you for another fantastic challenging devotion!!!!!
    I would even add that not just in finances but also in giving more TIME to help others whether for family or in the wider community or work instead of easy options and amazing feeling to look back to see how others blessed n later incredible blessing for us too!!
    I imagine at times for your ministry when things diff your fantastic team plod on n we are incredibly blessed by your wonderful work
    I am more than blessed by your devotions that I pass on your site in my homegroup and others as soooo inspiring wherever we go n encouraging when things may seem bleak
    THANK YOU!!!

  4. Tonia says:

    I too struggle with giving. Thank you for such a great message! This is a reminder that these things on earth do not belong to me and they are all temporary. Great message!

  5. Charlene says:

    Mary,
    Thank you from my heart to yours. Mahalo nui loa.I grew up with unchurched parents. However, my mother was loving and had a generous spirit.She was our role model! In our church, when it’s time for tithes n offerings, it’s like a cheer rally! We love to honor God by giving hilariously.

  6. Rebecca Jones says:

    We all should want to give cheerfully.

  7. Cecile says:

    My best friend is a surrendered giver.several years ago she was struggling to support her family
    She kept tithing in the midst of all this. A complete stranger came up to her after church one Sunday gave her the money to pay her utilities
    The only person she had told about it was God. She was obedient and God came through this stranger

  8. Brandy says:

    Thank you for your words Mary. I don’t struggle with the desire to give, what I struggle with is the means to give. Some months it is so hard. I believe God has called me to be a faithful giver, given that in the past it has always been inconsistent and never fully at 10%. This year though, I prayed about it and truly feel he has called me to step up this year and bring the 10%. It wouldn’t be such a struggle if our income was enough to cover everything. I’m thankful to have what we deem an “emergency fund” tucked into our checking account. I look at it more these days as an overdraft fund as the last couple months we have literally been close to broke. Despite that, I figure out our 10%, subtract from it our automatic giving then pray about where the rest should go. It doesn’t always get sent in the month it was allocated from but it always earmarked so I remember that as soon as there is enough in the bank I send it off. I long for the day when the amount we can give is not an issue. I see so many around me struggling and in need of help and I am thankful when God puts it on our heart to give to them. I’ve not always been one to walk in obedience but I know for certain there are 2 things God has called me to do for this year and I am fully, absolutely, completely trusting that he will meet our needs as we follow his call. Walking this way has certainly drawn me into a deeper relationship with Him and for that I am thankful. Have an amazing day friend!

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8