With the rising cost of living and global inflation, it seems like a good time to take pause to ask, “How wealthy am I?” A few days to the close of 2022, one of the pastors was doing the call for tithes and offerings and she made a statement that has stuck with me for the past few months. She said, “our wealth is not measured in how much we have but in how much we give away” and that stopped me in my tracks. People who know me well know that I am very generous almost to a fault. I used to give freely of my time and resources without second thoughts but lately I have become stingy. I started noticing that people were either taking advantage of my generosity or not reciprocating and I felt cheated. I felt like I deserved better and so decided to hold back. Of course as with all my life’s decisions I presented my new found disposition to God and this is what He had to say about it:
Seeking recognition or recompense for a good deed done:
I was chatting with my sister a few month ago and she shared with me how God has been dealing with her in terms of seeking recognition and wanting people to repay us for our good deeds. She shared that in many ways when we do a good deed, when we are kind, and generous, we have acted as messengers of God and indeed we are, as the hands and feet of Jesus. Messengers are sent to deliver messages, goods or services and to report back to the one that sent them. If praises/ thanks are offered, the messenger is to be relaying that information back to who ever sent him/ her. Expecting to be repaid for our gratitude or seeking recognition for our generous deeds is like a messenger who goes to deliver a package on behalf of another and takes the credit for the content of the package without duly referring that credit to the one that sent him/her. As God’s hands and feet, he empowers everyday to bring hope to the world around us in various ways through our generosity of money, time, intellect, and resources. And yes while it feels good to be appreciated, we must remember that the ultimate glory MUST go to God and He WILL NOT share that glory with anyone. He is the rewarder of men and women and when we start to look to people for rewards for our good deeds, then we have totally missed the mark. Here are a few scriptures that come to mind to buttress this point:
My name is the LORD! I won’t let idols or humans share my glory and praise.Isaiah 42:8 CEV
Feeling cheated because there appears to be no reciprocity and returns for my generosity:
A few weeks ago, I attended a worship seminar and the guest speaker said something that brought me to tears. He said, “God blesses the things in your heart that are a reflection of His heart.” The reason this simple statement convicted me so much is at that at the root cause of my dissatisfaction about being generous is the fact that I have felt like God does not notice. I have sometimes felt like a pushover because even though people have taken advantage of my generosity, I do not stop giving. I have often felt compelled by something greater than myself to be kind and loving and generous and lately because I have felt that it has gone unnoticed, I have been discouraged from pouring out so much of myself into others. At the heart of this issue is 90% the need for recognition and some returns for all my generosity and 10% compassion fatigue.
About compassion fatigue- Really and truly, there should be no room compassion fatigue when we are tapped into the source of compassion who is Love Himself. I have found when we take our eyes of Jesus who is our exceedingly great reward and we focus our eyes on what we think our reward should be- financial or otherwise- then we get compassion fatigue when the reward is not forthcoming. With our eyes on Jesus, how can we tire of being compassionate when His love flows through our veins? When His heartbeat for people become our life’s purpose?
So today as I take stock, these questions are very relevant, How wealthy am I? How much of my time, resources, giftings, intellect, money, worldly possessions do I give away for the benefit of others in service of my Master Jesus? In what ways am I the hands and feet of Jesus?