Why not make giving your goal?
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” You’ve heard this well known quote many times but haven’t allowed it to make a difference in your life. And unless you change your view about what really matters, you’ll keep focusing on what you can accumulate rather than on what you can share, missing the point of the promise and the pleasure of its fulfillment.
A man who had discovered he had a terminal illness voiced his disillusionment with life to me. “It’s been deceiving,” he said.
This successful businessman had spent his life fulfilling his goal of getting and gathering and now was facing the devastating diagnosis of his doctor that meant he would have little time to enjoy his considerable wealth. He had refused to set aside time to worship God and enjoy his family. Now he had only a short time left to live and couldn’t call back those wasted years. The real purpose of life and the blessing of giving had eluded him.
At a pivotal point in her life, Florence Nightingale wrote the following in her diary: “I am now thirty years of age, the age at which Christ began His mission. Now, Lord, let me think only of Thy will.” Years later, near the end of her heroic life, she was asked the secret of her success. “Well,” she replied, “I can only give one explanation: I have kept nothing back from God.”
Seizing and applying the secret of a meaningful life given by her Lord (Matthew 10:39), she avoided the trap of living for what she could get and instead invested her time and talents in service to others. In losing her life, she found it; in giving she gained. And the world was enriched because she tenaciously held to giving as the unchanging principle of successful living.
Babe Ruth once said, “Most people who have really counted in my life were not famous. Nobody ever heard of them except those who knew and loved them. I knew an old minister once whose hair was white and whose face shone. I have written my name on thousands of baseballs. The old minister wrote his name on just a few hearts. How I envy him! I am listed as a famous home-runner, yet beside that obscure minister, who was so good and wise, I never got to first base.”
The one who spends his or her life gathering temporary trinkets to impress others will ultimately be disappointed. Focusing on gaining wealth to the exclusion of the real and lasting values of life produces inward poverty.
It is the giver who gains, the investor who draws interest, the person who gives in faith who moves mountains.
A poor widow once entered the temple in Jerusalem and gave a very small offering but the Lord called her gift the greatest given that day because it was all she had.
Our giving, then, isn’t measured by its dollar value but by what we keep for ourselves.
A message on a weathered gravestone in an English cemetery says it well: “What I spent, I had. What I saved, I lost. What I gave I have.”
Let’s make giving our goal!
Editor’s note: Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. An anthology containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on FACEBOOK @YOURFAITHADVENTURE