Giving and Praying
WHY DO I GIVE? To give or not to give, that is not the question. That
adaptation of Shakespeare implies that we all already give. The question we
face here has to do with motivation and purpose. And as we shall review
next, not all motives and purposes are noble and Christian.
PEOPLE ARE WATCHING. The people sharing our pew notice (I suppose) when I
don't put anything in the offering basket as it goes by. The ushers notice
(I assume) when this happens week after week. So I had better give. Outside
the meetinghouse, people notice if I show up to help with work projects or
if I stop to help the motorist in trouble or if I take cookies to the
neighbor "just for anyhow." So I give.
GOD IS WATCHING. I know God sees both the evil and the good. And I also
know that He rewards everyone according to their deeds. That can be quite
strong incentive to give; besides, I want to stay on His "good side." So I
I WANT TO HELP. When people or projects or programs need help, I want to
give as much as possible. Sometimes I want to help only because of the two
preceding factors. Sometimes I want to help only because I don't want to be
left without help in my own time of need. And sometimes I help because I
really care about the recipient of my help. So I give.
I HAVE RECEIVED FREELY AND HAVE BEEN BLESSED GENEROUSLY. When I inventory
the scope and magnitude of the provision and blessing I have enjoyed, I
want to pass along that provision and blessing. I don't want to be selfish
with what I have; I want to share it with others. So I give.
WHY DO I PRAY? We all pray. I hope that is true, anyway. But why pray?
Interestingly, I found some motivations that parallel those for giving. See
if you can connect with them.
PEOPLE ARE LISTENING. Surely you know the feeling: it's prayer
meeting...and it's awfully, dreadfully, embarrassingly quiet. Somebody
better pray! It better be I, I suppose. Besides, what will others think of
me if I don't lead out? So I pray.
GOD IS WAITING. God wants His people to talk to Him. (He even wants to talk
*with* them!) So I better pay Him a visit. But too often it's only a
courtesy visit, a duty to be executed so that it can be scratched off the
day's To Do list. Besides, if I don't pray at least once (not counting
mealtimes) during the day, I feel guilty. Because I know God is waiting. So
I WANT HELP. Ah, yes! The really practical, down-to-earth aspect of
praying! I get in a bind, or I'm stumped, or nothing else works, or I need
a blessing ... so I pray.
I HAVE RECEIVED FREELY AND HAVE BEEN BLESSED GENEROUSLY. God has done and
is doing so much for me. God's love and blessing are so broad and abundant.
So I pray.
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