I am a giver. I do not boast in saying this, for God, Who lives in me, is the Giver. The more I let go of all those “natural” concerns about not having enough, or what about me, the more I give. Amazingly, the more I give, the more I have to give. This is definitely God at work!
Luke 6:38 “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full — pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (NLT)
The other day, though, I was faced with something else about me working against that growing nature of a giver. God created me with a pretty strong administrative gift, which means, among other things, that I live by lists. Lists help me stay focused more easily, making better use of time. Besides that, a written list helps my brain stay de-cluttered by not having to remember everything. In living this way, it follows that I also check off items once completed, which can lead to a get-the-task-done mentality.
As you can imagine, if this is out of balance, the list ends up driving me, rather than being a tool to help me stay focused. While it is important to do what the Lord has given me to do every day, I must not let completion of the tasks be my only focus. In God’s eyes, there’s a much more important reason for the tasks than the tasks themselves. The people with whom I come into contact in the process of doing those tasks, and my character being developed because of interacting with those people are the real purpose. Our Perfect example, Jesus, was never so involved in a task that He neglected the people – a lesson I needed to remember the other day!
I had gathered a few groceries to take to the local food pantry, which only receives donations during the same hours it serves the people. Earlier in the day, I had made a mental note, nestled between other tasks on my written list, to deliver the groceries late in the afternoon. As I parked, I saw several people standing outside, waiting their turns to be helped. I also spotted a couple of women putting people’s names on a list. Being focused on delivering my bag of help, I zeroed in on one of the women whom I recognized from a local business. She ushered me inside the bustling food pantry, full of people helping and receiving help. I quickly handed them my donation and returned home.
No sooner did I walk into my living room, than I was struck with the fact that I hadn’t acknowledged the very people to whom I had taken my groceries. I was so focused on the task of delivering that I had missed the purpose of the delivery – to give to the people. My heart wasn’t wrong in the giving. I simply forgot the whole point of it – the people. Perhaps all it would have taken was looking into their eyes with the love of God. Maybe a smile would have conveyed that they still have worth and value to the wonderful God Who created them. Just recognizing their presence in a very humbling time for them might have opened a door to share the good news of Jesus – the very reason I am able to give!
I share this with you not to give myself a way of cleansing my conscience, for Jesus Christ already paid the price with His blood, glory to His name. No, I share it in hopes you will remember my story when you find yourselves so caught up in the tasks that you are forgetting the very reason for the tasks. No matter what the task, it’s all about the people!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV)