"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"--when you now have it with you." Proverbs 3:27-28
I often have great intentions. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I have experienced moments (let me repeat moments) of purity, when God has gripped my heart and told me to do something and I have done it right then. My motives for my actions have been untainted by any ulterior motive than to please my heavenly Father. For every one of those moments, however, I have countless times when I have heard the voice of God and ignored Him--especially in the area of sharing with others.
I started working with my parents' ministry, Laban Ministries International, before my children started school. This included running errands and making bank deposits for the ministry while my parents were in the Congo. My children have never liked the car. None of them ever fell asleep when put in their car seats, but would scream continually from the moment we left our driveway until our destination. Any traveling over 30 minutes was out of the question--my frazzled nerves couldn't take it! My friends would tell me stories of their infants sleeping for seven hours, barely cognizant that they were in their car seats. After wanting to slap that smile right off my friend's face, I would hope that my smile in return didn't give away my intense jealousy.
Now, at that time, my children were five, four and two years old. Chase had graduated to a booster seat while the girls still had to sit in their car seats. Thankfully, they were old enough to be reasoned with. Although limited in their ability to understand, they had some sense of time like, "It will take us as long to get there as it takes to get to Nana's house," etc. We were performing the third day in a row of errands, which included a long wait in line at the bank. After threatening to send them to their rooms forever for misbehaving in the bank, we all climbed into the van. I was preoccupied with my thoughts.
"Mama," Chase's voice suddenly said, "why do we have to do all these yucky errands?"
"Well, honey, these errands are helping Jesus help the Congolese. When we do this, Jesus uses us to help them. Isn't that great?"
Chase didn't miss a beat.
"Mama, can't Jesus use someone else??!!"
I have thought the same thing. I know that I am not alone. I think nothing of plunking down money for a new outfit, books, or something I really want. But when God asks me to give the same amount to Him, well....I can think of a hundred reasons why that suddenly seems like an astronomical amount. Spend it on me, I do it in a heartbeat; spend it on Him or His people, and my fingers suddenly tighten around that money. I think of needing it for a vacation, my groceries, my leisure. Instead of realizing that the Lord is giving me an opportunity to help make Jesus famous to someone else, I think of how inconvenienced I will be with that drain on my bank account.
One day will be pay day. One day I will have to give an account for every decision I made here on earth. I may have had a huge bank account on earth, but how big will my bank account be in heaven? One account will pass away at my death, the other will live on for eternity.
O Jesus, save me from myself! I can be so incredibly selfish. I can live only for my own pleasures and rob myself of true riches. Help me to not withhold the good from others when Your voice is clearly telling me to give. When I have it, may I be generous. I can never out-give You. If I do not listen, You will simply go to someone who will obey, leaving me in my own spiritual poverty. I can never repay You for what You have done. Help me to obey You in my giving to others.