"Give, and it will be given to you.
They will pour into your lap a good measure—
pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
For by your standard of measure
it will be measured to you in return."
For this particular chapter, unlike knowing what to call it didn’t hit me immediately. Instead, I had so many titles I wanted to use. The message of giving is one that has been so abused, which ultimately led to its powerful principle being terribly neglected. The result of the abuse on the topic of giving, followed by the neglect of the message on giving, has caused the Christian community to no longer resemble “children of God”—instead we look like orphans.
Here are a couple of my titles:
Give—The Path Out of Poverty
Give—When You Are in Need
As with every principle we have learned thus far, giving is totally the opposite of what comes naturally. When we are in need, giving is certainly the very last thing we feel like doing. I am no different than any of you. My flesh wants to control my life just like your flesh wants to control your life. Yet, as followers of the Lord (which being a Christian means), we are all striving to break out of our fleshly ways and live the abundant life, which means living by God’s principles through the leading of the Holy Spirit and applying His grace to every difficult situation.
Being a follower means a dying to flesh and stepping out in faith, which is always unseen.
If you have seen all of Erin’s video, you may remember her speaking of living “not by sight.” And like me, you learned that God actually sets us up in a place of need in order to bless us. That it’s at the juncture of our need when our fate, or blessing, stands before us, and it’s we who choose. Our flesh wants to pull back, withhold, and look for another resource to fill the need in our life. However, as believers we are asked, instead, to walk by our faith even though we can’t see what is up ahead. And it’s our trust in the Lord that presses us forward.
For those who did not see the video, let me say that the Lord set me up in a very, very ominous position. Early one morning, I had gone into my online banking to print off the bank statement for my personal account and the church account. The balance took me by total surprise, as there was NOTHING left in either one. Over the course of the “hardest year of my life” many church members left after my husband’s adultery was discovered: first, were the older members, then the men (who were also our largest donators), and later, the ones that remained, began experiencing financial hardship so they began not tithing or giving to the church. Let me pause here a moment and share this one principle that will literally change your life.
When you seem to have nothing left, you need to give in order to receive. If you fail to give, you will be left wanting.
“There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:24–25).
The Message Bible puts it this way: “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”
That morning, I was faced with utter ruin. For months, I had watched our church members update their personal profiles (that come into our office email) with “not giving” over and over and over again. On top of that, I had felt led (since it had been in my heart for YEARS) to give our prospective church members the required books to read for free online, rather than requiring them to purchase the books from our church bookstore. Then, due to this, our bookstore put these books on sale, and as a result, much of our church staff went to part-time since there no longer was enough work for full-time employment.
If I wasn’t living life in the fast lane (that feels more like the German Autobahn), I could have watched our finances spiral downward, but I had been too busy to really take time to notice—until that morning. That morning was like a splash of cold water in my face. The Lord told me months earlier about some of these changes, but it was back when financially I was more than fine. God had purposely waited until I could see clearly that I was about to go under to ask me to give.
“So when He heard that he [Lazarus] was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was . . . So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days” (John 11:6, 17).
The Lord had set me up for a huge blessing and so that His Father would be glorified. But for that to happen, He had to lead me to that one gate, which is narrow and hard to find. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13–14).
The Lord spoke to me that morning, just after seeing I had nothing left, that He wanted me to go into our online church store and discount all of our books, videos, and audiotapes, but it didn’t end there. When that was complete, He told me to go in and set our church member discount code to 50% off, up from the 20% that we had been giving to our church members for years. The result would be us having no profit at all. The price would just cover our cost to print.
Looking at the facts, this move would lead to our church collapsing, but what options did I really have? The Lord had taught me over the years to trust in Him and Him alone. No longer did works or devising a different plan enter my mind, and really I was in much too deep not to try something so stupid. On top of that, God had put in my heart a passion to give, which stemmed directly (or should I say “flowed directly”) from His heart of giving to mine.
Over the course of the previous year, I had been given so much from the Lord: love, compassion, comfort, security, peace, joy, patience, goodness, and the list goes on and on. As a result, all I wanted to do was give: give of my time, give of my overflow of love, give away everything that had been given so freely to me! There had been so many times when I found myself at the end of all my resources, only to be put in a place where God asked me to give out of my lack, and when I did—I was again overflowing!
Let me share just a couple of examples that don’t include financial giving so that you can see that giving when you are in need is a principle to follow, not a law that we must obey or feel oppressed under.
The first one the Lord brought to mind was on my first, very long, meeting our church members’ tour. I was exactly halfway through (flying to 14 cities in 16 days) and I was exhausted! I had no idea how I was going to make it. So I retreated to my room to talk to the Lord about it. While at my lowest, the Lord prompted me to go downstairs and to bless my precious hostess with a hair and makeup “make-over.” When I wanted to withdraw, the “opportunity” came for ME to give.
That night I didn’t get to bed early as is my normal routine, but let me tell you that when I woke up, I had more energy and enthusiasm than I did when I began my trip! Instead of withholding, I gave out of the tiny bit of energy I had left and the result was nothing short of miraculous.
The next opportunity that came to mind was again when I came to the end of myself (and my strength). It occurred a few months after my divorce when being “a single mom” again was taking its toll. I had just taken over my FHs position in our church (other than preaching) so that our income as pastors would continue. So on top of my own position with our church, which was ministering to thousands of women, I had to take over all his other duties at the church and also around our house. In addition, I had begun traveling two weeks out of every month to help recover from the adultery scandal when we lost many of our television audience and members. In addition, my children were still struggling with their own loss, so when I was home, I needed to take it on myself (relying on God’s strength of course), by taking over many of the chores my children used to do for me such as all the cooking.
That day my strength seemed to run out. I was just sitting at my FHs desk in our home office wondering how I was going to make it, when God brought in the “opportunity” to overcome my exhaustion by giving so He could bless me.
First, an email came in from my brother who lives overseas. He wrote to tell me that he had “gone ahead and booked a flight for my niece” (who was 16 years old) to come to live with us for a year. I just sat there stunned (because I had written to him that she could NOT come, then later found out that I had actually sent it to the wrong email address). A moment later in walks my son who tells me that his friend was just kicked out of his house and asked if he could come live with us. Not only was it just another body in our home—this boy was huge and could really eat!
Not ten minutes later, my daughter came in to ask me what she should do. It seemed that her friend had been locked out of her house, her mom was at a weeklong conference, and she didn’t know how to help her.
At this point, our flesh wants to scream and run, but deep in our spirits, if we find that quietness in our hearts, we can faintly hear the Lord alluring us with His love, asking us to give. The abundance of His love has “set us up” in order to bless others, not to keep it for ourselves.
- It is not until we are backed up against the Red Sea that the waters will part for us to walk through (not to mention our enemies being drowned).
- It is not until there is no wine at the wedding feast that the first miracle in our lives will be performed.
- It is not until we have our last meal with our only child that a prophet will come along and ask us to bake him a cake, so that our kitchen will be filled with oil to pay off our debts and make us prosperous (read 1 Kings 17:8-16). Instead, our flesh wants to eat to feed that cake to our own child who is starving and about to die.
Since I knew God and knew His principles, and also knew the Lord’s endless love for me, without the least inclination that it would lead to an abundance of strength, I gladly agreed to have my niece come to live with us, also the young man moved in downstairs with my boys, and so did my daughter’s friend, who shared their room upstairs. The result was finding an unlimited energy that had been supercharged by the Holy Spirit! I was able to take on more than I had before, and instead of struggling with the “poor me, what am I going to do” syndrome, I was able to fight against it with ease. Rather than struggling as I had just been feeling, I was gliding through everything with unlimited energy, joy in my heart, and praise on my lips. All I could see now was God’s hand and His provisions surrounding me, not the lack that was once looming over me.
And ladies, it didn’t stop with physical abundance. Abundance is also where I am now financially, not impoverished like I was that morning when I looked at our bank balance. Just minutes after I obeyed and opened my home to 3 young people, the opportunity to get out of debt literally came to my door. The “lack” in our bank accounts ended in the most incredible blessing that I have ever seen, but not before the Lord showed me another place I needed to give out of my lack.
Later that very same day, as I said, I had nothing in either of the bank accounts. The Lord had me go pick up book orders for our church library, which were mostly new bibles. Immediately after the young man loaded all the boxes into my car, the Lord spoke to me that He wanted me to give away everything, not charging anything, not even recovering our cost. Instead, He wanted me to sow these into the lives of the homeless in local shelters, and He laid out the entire plan as I was driving back to the church. All of these “opportunities” were leading me to fufilling my huge financial need, but not before God allowed the final “opportunity” for me to give. The result was instantaneous—that very evening I opened my computer and a huge donation came in by email, which was the largest single donation our church had ever received!!
Had I not obeyed each and every “opportunity” that the Lord presented to me, I would not have been open to receiving the huge blessing I and our church received that day. Here is the principle of abundance:
The bigger the crisis of need will require the larger obedience, which results in the greater the blessing that overflows—pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
Therefore, if your arms are burdened, carrying incidentals that belong to others, when He asks you to give—your arms will not be open to receive what He plans to give you.
So many women want to have blessings like this in their lives, but are unwilling to give the tiniest thing they have in order to receive. Just begin to give what you have when you see that the Lord has given you the opportunity to do so.
One key principle that we must keep in the back of our minds, but not to the point that it will imprison us to be afraid to walk boldly with the Lord in the area of giving, is that the enemy, the devil, also loves to disguise himself to get us off track. How many times have I seen women literally “throw themselves off a cliff” only to find themselves in a mess for everyone to witness as a mocking to their “faith”? God does not ask us to do crazy things (remember the enemy has a voice too), though to some everything we do seems crazy. So how do we know the difference?
Of course, knowing God’s voice is key, and that happens just being in His presence and letting Him speak to you every morning and throughout the day. This is different than reading the Bible—but reading His Word is where you must start. Knowing His principles will also keep you from going astray because His Word gives you wisdom and lets you know what He might call you to do, and what He would tell you to do. Lastly, it is just sitting still and listening for that still small voice, so that you can recognize His voice over all the rest.
This also includes not asking for or listening to everyone’s opinion about what you should do. Even if you don’t “ask” for advice, you are going to get advice if you tell everyone (or even just a few or sometimes just one person) what is happening in your life. This is when that “gentle and QUIET spirit” needs to be put into action. Be quiet about what is going on in your life and instead talk to the Lord—turn off your phone so you know His voice above anyone else’s.
Secondly, I have found that the enemy loves to get me off track by feeding my “self-righteous flesh.” He loves to puff me up so that I can imagine the great testimony I will be able to share if I do this or that! If this is your motivation, then it means you are instead—throwing yourself off a cliff only to make a fool of yourself when things turn out badly.
Another wrong motive is when some women do the outrageous in order to show someone, other than the Lord, how much they care or are willing to do to prove their love—especially husbands or FH. If this is your motivation, then you are still in idolatry by putting your husband (or someone else and their opinion or their love) above the Lord’s.
For the most part, doing what God is calling you to do will mean 1) walking out one of God’s principles, like giving, 2) will be something that no one will praise you for, 3) and will be a testimony that you would rather not share with most people you know because they “wouldn’t understand” and probably think you’ve gone nuts.
Here is another destructive motivation: “If I give $$$ to RMI my marriage will be restored.” Precious one, God doesn’t take bribes and RMI has never asked me or you for money. Usually, when the Lord is calling you to give (or obey in another way) you don’t have a particular reward in mind. You are simply determined to give when asked or to obey when told.
Let me close with a few more testimonies since God said that we would be able to overcome the wicked one by His precious blood AND by the word of our testimony (read Revelation 12:11).
The first real big financial test for me happened immediately after my divorce when I, for the first time in 16 years, was in charge of our family’s finances. My husband left me all of our debt and was adamant that he would not be paying child support either. When I looked at ALL the bills, I was overwhelmed. So I went to the Lord to ask Him where I was to begin. He immediately brought to mind our church’s building pledge. We, as a couple, had pledged $10,000 to be paid over two years; yet there were less than two months left and $7,000 remained to be paid. The Lord said He wanted me to start there.
Remember how I said I still have a way to go to not share what I am doing or about to do with others? Well, I cannot tell you how many people tried to stop me from doing what, really, I could not do without God’s help. So I tried to explain I simply did not have that kind of money. But I knew that as I walked forward with the right heart, He would make a way if this was His plan. Amazingly God showed me the way and just two hours after I put that $7,000 dollar check in the offering, I received $10,000 dollars (the entire pledge) back!
My opening testimony, when I had nothing in our bank accounts, later led to an incredible refinancing option that would mean no debt other than a house payment (even my car was about to be paid off) and another check that a television member wrote to tell me was coming for my women’s ministry that was almost $15,000.
Remember, this happened only after I saw, that same morning, for me to pay the bills I could see would mean being overdrawn. I saw day-after-day the “not giving” updates from the members’ profiles, as I saw the drop in online book and video sales, but in comparison to the promises of God, asking me to trust Him, I was able to obey each time He asked me to give, even when I lacked, which enabled me to grow strong in faith and in the end, giving glory to God!
“Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform” (Romans 4:19–21).
Let me close by stating I deserve no pat on the back “oh ye of little faith,” but with the faith of a mustard seed, I saw that mountain of financial lack plummeting into the sea.
Dear reader, sow that mustard seed of faith as the Lord leads you and watch for those “opportunities” to give when you are faced with a “lack” knowing that, precious one, God is about to open the Red Sea behind you—so pack your bags because you are about to walk through on dry land while the waters engulf and drown your enemies!