Live to Give – Keith Green wrote a song titled ‘Make My Life A Prayer To You.’ A line in the lyrics says, ‘It’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me.’ When you become upset or worried what is it you focus on? What is your emphasis? Who are you thinking about? Usually we are thinking about ‘ME.’ We are thinking about ourselves. We are caught up in ‘ME.’ It’s a certain formula for depression and discouragement.
LIVE TO GIVE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Live to Give
Live to Give
Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, Luke 6:38, Hebrews 3:13, Isaiah 58:6-11
I want to talk the next few weeks about learning to LIVE TO GIVE. We all face the challenge and temptation of selfishness. It’s easy to slip into the subtle trap of selfishness. It’s very easy when we know God wants each of us to have the best, wants us to prosper, and has more good things for us in our futures. However, selfishness is not of God and will actually rob us of God’s best. What’s the answer? It’s learning to LIVE TO GIVE.
God loves a person who loves to give from a giving heart. A giving heart brings God’s best to us.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Giving is connected with the heart. So is selfishness. Remember, God looks at the heart. Giving is decided first in the heart. So is selfishness. In relation to our giving, GOD IS ABLE to give his grace/favor to us so that in all things at all times, we have all we need and abound. In other words, if we want God’s best, we must learn to LIVE TO GIVE. I am satisfied many people are missing God’s best because they have a selfish heart.
The world we live in teaches us to look out for number one, i.e. me. “What’s in it for ME?” “I will do this for you, but what’s in it for ME?” This attitude is actually narcissistic and spills over into our relationship with God. “I’ll serve you Lord, but what’s in it for ME?” It spills over into our relationships with friends, family, and everyone. Giving and selfishness affect our entire life.
Many people today only live for themselves. They don’t have time for anyone else. They are not interested in people. Their focus is only on what they want and involve themselves only in what they believe will benefit them. No matter how much they acquire, it’s never enough. Instead of being fulfilled this attitude causes them to live very shallow lives.
If we are going to experience happy, joy-filled lives and experience the favor of God the way we want to experience God’s favor, we must get our minds off ourselves. WE MUST LEARN TO GIVE, not only take. Instead of continually trying to figure out “What’s in it for me?” figure out what you can do for somebody else.
GOD DID NOT CREATE YOU TO BE SELFISH. GOD DID NOT CREATE YOU TO THINK ONLY OF YOURSELF. God created you to be a giver. God created you to give something to the world and until you move into the reason you were created, you will never have the life you want. You must learn to LIVE TO GIVE.
Let’s be practical. Think about this: When you become upset or worried, or when you are unhappy, what is it you are focused on? What is your emphasis? What are you thinking about? We all know nine times out of ten, we are thinking about “ME.” We are thinking about some concern, problem, or frustration we are having. We are caught up in “ME.” It’s a formula for depression and discouragement. Keith Green wrote a song titled “Make MyLife A Prayer To You.” A line in the lyrics says, “It’s so hard to see when my eyes are on ME.” You would think we would learn when we become consumed with “ME” nothing good happens. Good things always happen when we give to others. Live to Give.
We don’t realize it, but it’s a selfish lifestyle if we live only dwelling on our problems, or what we want and never think about the needs and problems of others all around us. Again, this is how society teaches us to think, but it’s not how God teaches us to think. One of the best things I’ve learned to do when I am having a problem or a need is to give help to someone else in their problem or their need. If you want your dreams to happen, help someone else fulfill their dream. When we meet the needs of others, God will always meet our needs. This is especially true when we Live to Give.
Luke 6:38 IF YOU GIVE, YOU WILL RECEIVE. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – LARGE OR SMALL – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
“If” means it’s optional, but “if” we GIVE something supernatural happens. Not only what you give will return to you, but more, packed down, shaken together, overflowing. It’s a promise of God to give back to you in direct proportion to what you give – LARGE OR SMALL – it’s how God measures back to us. Living God’s best is in direct relationship to learning to LIVE TO GIVE.
Think about this. Perhaps your marriage is in trouble. If you refuse to GIVE into your marriage, it will shrivel up and die. However, if you give full measure to your marriage, God promises to bring it back to you even better. We all know this is how marriage works. It’s the same with friendships. If all you do is take from a friendship, the friendship will die. If you give into it, it will last a lifetime. So, what problem are you facing? What frustration or discouragement has taken your joy? Refocus. Find someone with a similar problem or frustration and GIVE into it. Focus on them. Help them. By the measure you help them God promises to help you.
No matter how big your problem is, someone has a bigger problem. No matter how discouraged you are today, someone you know is more discouraged. No matter how heartbroken you are, someone is more heartbroken. Help make a difference in their life. Give them hope. Not only will God give you help for your situation, you will experience a tremendous joy knowing you helped someone through their situation.
We are created to give, not simply gratify ourselves. I read a story about a man who was once very successful, but because of poor choices, he lost everything – his business, family, home, money, everything. He lived in his car. He was very disgruntled with life and bitter with God. He was told to refocus and get his mind off himself and give himself to others. He became involved with some men who ministered to people overcoming addictions and began spending his time ministering to addicts. First, his joy of life came back as he was able to help others and watch God work in lives. Soon, he was offered a job, moved out of his car and into an apartment. God began to give back to the man and it all took place within a matter of a few weeks. But, it only started when he refocused, got his mind off self, and gave to others.
When you reach out to others, God will make certain your needs are met. If you are lonely, find someone who is lonely and help them. Go to a nursing home, or visit someone in a hospital. If you are discouraged, find someone you can encourage. Call a friend or coworker. GIVE and it will come back to you even better. If you are struggling financially, find someone else who is struggling and find a way to help them.
“Well, Delbert, I can’t help others if I can’t help myself.” Sure you can. Give SOMETHING – a smile, a phone call. Make someone a meal. Give away something you are not using to someone who needs the item. Write someone a letter or note to encourage them. Someone needs your love. Give someone a hug. Someone needs your touch. God created you to give so he could give you more.
We need each other. There is an amazing story I’ve shared with you before. Twins were born. One had a serious heart condition and was not expected to live. They were placed in separate incubators. Sadly, the tiny sick baby was slipping away. An attending nurse asked if she could place the babies together in the same incubator. With some resistance, she was finally given permission and she placed the babies side by side. The healthy baby somehow got his arm around the sick twin. For no apparent reason, the sick baby began to improve. Its heart stabilized and healed. Little by little she got better and better. Today, they are both healthy children living normal lives. The newspaper heard the story and called it “The Rescuing Hug.”
Someone needs your hug today. Someone needs to know you care. There is healing in your words and in your hands. Give hope, love and healing. Take your mind off your troubles and your needs. Bless someone else and God will give unto you packed down and shaken together. Don’t live a self-centered life.
Hebrews 3:13 But ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER DAILY, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We need to get up each morning and think… Who can I encourage today? I am going to do something for someone. I’m going to LIVE TO GIVE today. Encouraging others and giving to others keeps us from hardening in our hearts. Sin comes in so subtly. We become deceived with selfishness, but something supernatural happens when we encourage and help others.
“Delbert, I don’t have time.” Sure you do. How long does it take to tell your wife or your husband, “I love you, you mean the world to me. I appreciate all you do for me.” How long does it take to make a phone call? How long does it take to give a coworker a compliment? How long does it take to write an email? I sat down at my computer yesterday morning and opened my emails. Someone had sent me a sweet short note. It said, “We just wanted to thank you for being our pastor. Happy Pastor Appreciation Week” and they put their names. No big deal, but it encouraged me to know I am appreciated.
Isaiah writes about how people would fast and wear sackcloth in an attempt to get God to move. There’s nothing wrong with fasting, but if all we do is go without food, we don’t impress God.
Isaiah 58:6-11 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? THEN your light will BREAK FORTH like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; THEN your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. THEN you will call, and the LORD will answer; YOU WILL CRY FOR HELP, AND HE WILL SAY: HERE AM I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you SPEND YOURSELVES In Behalf Of The Hungry And Satisfy The Needs Of The Oppressed, THEN your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; HE WILL SATISFY YOUR NEEDS in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
In other words, if you really want to touch God and get God involved in your problems and situations, LIVE TO GIVE. Help people get loosed from their chains. Make someone a meal. Provide shelter to someone you don’t even know. Give clothes to people. Go and minister to your relatives. This is where you will get a BREAKTHROUGH. Your healing will QUICKLY APPEAR. When you need help, God shows up and even guards your backside. SPEND YOURSELF – your time in behalf of the needs of others. Your breakthrough is just on the other side of LIVING TO GIVE.
Many people would receive the miracle they’ve been praying for years to get if they would turn their focus from self to others and LIVE TO GIVE.
So, I need to ask you, are you a cheerful giver? What have you done for someone lately? Have you given anything? Have you helped someone? Who have you encouraged? It’s according to this measure God will give to you. It’s to this degree your heart will not become hardened. What are you spending yourself doing? God did not create you to be a narcissist – all about you. I want you to think right now about your personal problem and your situation in which you need God. Who is it in the incubator you can find to hug, i.e. touch? If you will, I promise you, God will give you your breakthrough. What will you do to learn to LIVE TO GIVE? I want to challenge you to give something this week. How many of us will “fast” this week the fast Isaiah talked about? Every day find someone to bless, touch, hug, and give to. Let’s watch God bring your breakthrough.
Other Related Sermons: