By Dyrie Francis
Have you considered the words “It is more blessed to give than to receive”? In a culture where people look out for themselves more than for others, the COVID-19 pandemic provides cause to reflect on the nature of our giving or lack of it. Some people hoard basic supplies while others search desperately for just a roll of toilet paper or bottle of hand sanitizer! Such conduct speaks loudly about our level of concern for each other. Here are five ways to engage in the discipline of giving:
- Give thanks to God upon waking each day. It demonstrates gratitude of heart (Psalm 107:1; Psalm 118:24).
- Give a kind word or instructive word to someone each day. It demonstrates grace in motion (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13).
- Give a helping hand without being asked. It demonstrates kindness (Proverbs 3:27; 1 John 3:17-18).
- Give out of your need (anyone can give out of their abundance). It demonstrates sacrifice (1 Kings 17:9-17; Luke 21:1-4).
- Give without expecting anything in return. It demonstrates true generosity of heart (Matthew 5:42; Luke 10:30-37; Luke 14:14).
My sister Caroline and her husband, Carlos, live in Brampton, a Canadian city in Ontario’s Greater Toronto area where the winter weather has been very severe. On a recent Saturday night, Carlos and Caroline heard the siren of emergency vehicles, saw their elderly neighbor being taken away by ambulance, and prayed for him. By morning, the neighbor’s driveway was submerged under a mountain of snow. A believer, Carlos wanted to help, so he went over and shoveled the snow off the neighbor’s driveway. The elderly wife, feeling helpless in the situation, was shocked to see her driveway being cleared and offered to pay. Carlos refused payment and offered to clear the driveway for the remainder of winter. By this time the neighbor was stunned!
Carlos was unaware that other neighbors were watching. Soon one of them came over and offered to help remove the pile of snow. Another family a few houses down the street also decided to help. On day three Carlos went out to clear the driveway only to discover that the other two neighbors had already removed all the snow. Carlos was amazed to witness God at work! When the elderly gentleman returned home from the hospital he was overwhelmed by their kindness. He too offered to pay Carlos for his service, but once again Carlos firmly refused. He was grateful to God for the opportunity to give service to someone in need.
For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”(2 Corinthians 8:1-2, ESV)
We practice spiritual discipline when we give to others in need. For then we become flowing channels of life-giving water rather than ponds that collect and never flow outward. No one is excused since giving can include material things, time, words, and worship. It is vertical (giving to God) and horizontal (giving to others). The apostle Paul commended the Macedonian church for their overwhelming generosity in difficult times: “For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2, ESV).
Therefore, giving blesses not only the recipient, but also the giver. The COVID-19 pandemic provides an ideal opportunity to obey our Lord’s command to give (and make a difference). Indeed, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)!
About the Author
Dyrie Francis serves as the associate pastor of Living Word Open Bible Church in Cooper City, Florida, and as Open Bible Southeast Region’s prayer coordinator. Dyrie and her husband, Karl, pioneered Living Word Open Bible Church, which is comprised of believers from 22 countries. The church celebrates unity in diversity and eagerly pursues the fulfillment of the Great Commission regardless of race or color. God and family are central to Dyrie’s life and ministry paradigm. Underlying her calling to service is a deep and inescapable awareness and sensitivity to God’s heart on justice and the plight of the oppressed. She serves as a bridge to many and will continue by the grace of God.