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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

"Generous Gifts"
Date Posted: June 5, 2004

In Exodus 36 the Israelites bring offerings to build the tabernacle and continue to bring freewill offerings until there are more materials than are needed for the construction. Moses gives the order that no one is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary. And the people were restrained from bringing more because there was enough to do all the work.

What would happen if we were to be so excited about the Lord, so full of love for Him and His work that we gave until there was no more need?

Surrounded by building projects and getting daily requests from mission programs, camps and other ministries, as well as many noble charities, it seems like an impossible task -- to meet all the needs. My resources certainly don't seem to go very far.

How has God equipped our hearts for giving? Can we just look at an imploring letter from a missionary and know we are to send our money to that one? When we see a video of children in need and our hearts cry out, is that the one we should focus on?

Scripture provides many examples of giving. Aside from the generous giving for the tabernacle, we are given the example of Abraham giving a tenth of what he had to Melchizedek, king of Salem and a priest of God most high; and in the New Testament the widow who gave all she had. Her selflessness was commended by Christ and compared to the rich who gave a pittance of their wealth, rather than generously from their heart. We also are told of many instances by Paul of churches giving generously to him and to other churches in need.

How should we meet the challenge of giving to build the Lord's kingdom? Trust in the leaders of our local church, involvement in missions and other projects and especially prayer. Asking the Lord's guidance in where we give, what we give and that our heart be prepared to give cheerfully!

I want my children to know and understand the joy and necessity of giving back to the Lord, but it's a lesson I still struggle with sometimes.

As I was writing this, I came across this illustration that seemed to hit home:

A torn and ragged one-dollar bill discovered that it was about to be retired from circulation. As it slowly moved along the conveyor belt to the shredder, it became acquainted and struck up a conversation with a fifty-dollar bill that was meeting the same fate.

The fifty began reminiscing about its travels all over the country. "Life as been good," the fifty exclaimed. "Why, I've been to Las Vegas, the finest restaurants in New York, political fund raisers and just returned from a cruise on the Caribbean."

"Gee," said the one-dollar bill, "you're fortunate to have been able to visit all those places."

"So where all have you been in your lifetime, my little friend?" said the fifty.

"Well, I've been to...
the Methodist Church,
the Baptist Church,
the Episcopal Church,
the Presbyterian Church,
the Lutheran Church,
the Catholic Church,
the Orthodox Church,
the Assembly of God Church,
the Brethren Church,
the Quaker Church,
the Pentecostal Church,
the Charismatic Church,
the Mennonite Church,
the Church of Christ ..."

"Excuse me," said the fifty, "but what's a Church?"

As you seek you 10 minutes' peace this week, pray for missions, building and evangelistic programs, church plants and other programs your congregation or others around you are involved in. Ask God to move you to use all your resources in building up his kingdom.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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