Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. Luke 6:38 (NLT)
When going through difficult circumstances, it's easy for our focus to shift from the Lord to our own feelings, especially if we're experiencing fear. Fear has fangs that easily burst our bubble of faith.
When that happens, we withdraw emotionally from the Lord and others. We tend tighten the hold we have on what we've got - whether it's our finances or our possessions, or even the prayer and emotional support we normally give to others.
You know what I mean. Those days you feel so emotionally drained, you'd rather stay in bed with the covers over your head than doing something for someone else or thinking about the problems of those worse off than you.
Rather than giving to others freely we turn away from them because we're afraid we won't have anything left if we give it all.
It's a lot like the illustration of the monkey with his hand in the narrow-mouthed cookie jar. He could easily slide his hand into the jar, but when he grasped the cookie in his fist, he couldn't remove his hand from the jar. But he still refused to let the cookie go because it belonged to him. Even if he couldn't eat it himself, he still possessed a cookie. But if he let it go, he feared he wouldn't have anything at all.
Yet, the scriptures are filled with stories of those who faced dire circumstances and still shared freely with others. The widow who only had enough oil and flour to make one last meal for herself and her son is a good example. When Elijah came to her and asked her to share her last meal with him, she did it freely and God blessed her with an inexhaustible supply until the famine ended. (1 Kings 17:10-16)
Even in his darkest hours, the Lord only thought of us. In the predawn hours he spent praying in Gethsemane's garden, he loosed his hold on his physical life as he prayed, "Not my will but thine be done." As he hung on the cross dying, he prayed for forgiveness for his enemies because they didn't understand what they were doing. He gave up his life so that we might have eternal life.
To be able to loosen our fists on our possessions or on our mental and emotional resources in order to help others around us who are in need, is at the heart of the Gospel of Christ. Especially when we're going through rough patches in life ourselves, the act of giving to others with a heart of love allows the Lord to give back to us - joy during our discouragement and materially to meet our needs.
We don't give in order to get - we give because we're already been given so much! And when our hands are empty, God refills them again so we can give some more. Amen!