"Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give."|
- Matthew 10:8 AMP
Some years ago, I prayed and asked the Lord what I could bring to the home of a lady who had invited me to dinner. I knew that she desperately needed the Lord in her life, but every time I had tried to speak to her about the love of God, she shut me out. This one particular day, I felt the Lord impress upon me that I should give her one of my Bibles. This woman was a single parent, and I believed God wanted me to present her with a Bible that my own children cherished as they were growing up. This Bible meant a lot to me, and I was very reluctant to part with it. But after continuing to pray about it, I decided to bring it with me to this woman's house. After we had a nice dinner together, I handed her my Bible with some words of encouragement. She took it in her hands, glanced at it, and said, "Oh. It's just a Bible." And she tossed it down with disdain. I was heartbroken, and as I fought back the tears that threatened to stream down my face, I silently pleaded with the Lord to comfort and strengthen me.
When I talked to the Lord about this hurtful experience, He impressed upon me that, just as He had invested a lot in me, He wanted me to invest in others. God gave up His only Son, even though He knew that many would reject His precious gift. Likewise, He wants us to be ready to make sacrifices for others, even though they might not always appreciate what we do for them. Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8 NIV) This is a "radical" type of giving. It's done with an attitude that says, "I'm going to give to you whether you respond the way I want you to or not." It's a "no-strings-attached" kind of giving. It says that once I give you what the Lord tells me to give, what you do with it is between you and Him. This kind of giving is not for the fainthearted, but for those who are serious about loving others with the God-kind of love.
Sometimes the Lord will ask us to "freely" give away His Word. As we devote ourselves to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will often prompt us to give someone a specific verse that might encourage their heart, or convict them of sin. Sometimes, this is the hardest gift for me to give, especially if the person has been unreceptive to the Scriptures in the past. Even if I get a negative response, I'll pray, "Lord, I'm planting seeds in this person's life, and I'm trusting You to nurture them, and to make them grow into an abundant harvest for their good and Your glory."
If we give something of value to someone, and they respond with indignation or indifference, we can trust God to bring good out of it, and to make our efforts fruitful in some way. The next time you give something away in the Lord's name, "expecting and hoping for nothing in return," remember that God is pleased with you, and He's promised that "your reward will be great--rich, strong, intense and abundant"! (Luke 6:35 AMP)
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to give with "no strings attached." Make me a bold and radical giver, instead of a timid or stingy one. When the response I receive is hurtful, help me to be quick to turn to You for comfort and healing. Remind me that Jesus said You are "kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked," and that You want me to be the same way. (Luke 6:35 AMP) Thank You, Lord, that as I give in Your name, I'll sow seeds that will someday bring a mighty harvest for Your glory!
- J. M. Farro