A little girl and her friend arrived at our first night of Vacation Bible School with a zip-lock bag full of coins and bills. The little girl’s mom explained that these two budding entrepreneurs had heard about our VBS mission project – sending a team of people to Mexico this December to build two homes for families in need – and they wanted to help. They set their mind to running a lemonade stand, and after a lot of work, here they were bringing their hard-earned profits to offer as their gift.
Ya, it put a big lump in my throat too…
Giving as a Way of Life
There is something about the selflessness of generous, cheerful givers that always gets to me. Jesus once told a story about the people who will someday inherit the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus said that one day the King will return, and he will call the people who have given the hungry something to eat and the thirsty something to drink, the people who have shown hospitality to strangers, the people who have given clothes to those in need, the people who have cared for the sick, and the people who have visited those in prison. And the King will say, “Thank you for doing these things to me!” (My paraphrase).
The irony of the story is that the people who the King calls don’t understand; when did they ever give and serve the King in this way?
“I tell you the truth,” says the King, “when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40, NLT)
Giving in God’s Kingdom
These two little girls, along with every little boy and girl and every family who has given to our mission project this week, every volunteer who has given their time and talents this week, they all inspire us and teach us what it looks like to give in God’s Kingdom:
1) Give with joy: It sounds so easy – become aware of a need, go and make a plan, execute that plan, and then get giddy with excitement at thought of giving away our the profits of our hard work, or sharing our gifts and talents in a new way with others. I want to give with this kind of joy, the kind of giving that makes the King smile.
2) Give with trust: If you are a giver, is it a sacrifice for you? Do you prayerfully make choices about where your resources will go? Or do you spend with abandon on yourself, and hope that there is something left at the end of the month to give to others (your church, your favourite charity, to child sponsorship, etc.)? Little children showing us what it means to give joyfully, and in abundance, should challenge us to give with trust. We can give as God show us the needs of our community and our world, even when it requires a sacrifice. We can trust God for tomorrow, and to trust Him to fill us with the joy that comes from giving.
3) Give with expectancy: These two little girls give to this mission project with a spirit of expectancy. They expect that their gift will help build a home for the perfect family to whom God will lead us through our partner, Yugo Ministries. They expect that our church will responsibly and prayerfully use their gift to change the life of that family. They give with the expectancy that their lemonade stand run from the end of their driveway can, and will, make a difference for the Kingdom of God in this world.
Jesus promises all who give as we see the need, and all who give as He leads, that the King sees our giving. No matter how big or small the gift, whatever you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you are doing it for the King, and the Kingdom.