DELIVERANCE AND HEALING
By Petal Barclay-Smith
Jesus says it is more blessed to give than to receive. I read this article recently online about Scott Lewis giving financially to expand the Kingdom of God. When you give, God multiples up to one hundred fold.
“Scott Lewis, owner of Scott Machinery, attended a conference where Bill Bright challenged people to give one million dollars to help fulfill the Great Commission. This amount was laughable to Scott—far beyond anything he could imagine, since his machinery business was generating an income of under $50,000 a year.
Bill asked, “How much did you give last year?” Scott felt pretty good about his answer: “We gave $17,000, about 35 percent of our income.” Without blinking an eye, Bill responded, “Over the next year, why don’t you make a goal of giving $50,000?”
Scott thought Bill hadn’t understood. Fifty thousand dollars was more than he’d made all year! But Scott and his wife decided to trust God with Bill’s challenge, asking him to do the impossible. God provided in amazing ways; with a miraculous December 31 provision, the Lewis’ were able to give the $50,000. The next year they set a goal of giving $100,000. Again, God provided.
Scott wrote a note saying that in 2001, they passed the one million dollar giving mark. The best part is they aren’t stopping. That’s what it means to excel at giving.”
When Elijah, the prophet prophesied that there would be drought in Israel, God provided for him during that period. Elijah was sent to hide in the Kerith Ravine to drink water from the brook and to be fed by the ravens.
Elijah obeyed God and went on his journey. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening. But, as he drank continually from the brook, it eventually dried us. So God sent him to another region where he would be fed by a widow.
We read in First Kings, Chapter 17, verses 10 to 14, “So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.”
The widow was poor, honest and sincere. With mustard seed faith, she did what she was told. Her honesty and obedience paid great dividends. From that day onwards, the widow who was getting ready to eat her last meal before dying, had more than enough food in her house to feed herself, her family and Elijah daily.
When you give from a sincere heart God sees and blesses you in abundance. The widow’s jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, just as Elijah prophesied, because she gave wholeheartedly.
When Jesus was on earth, His ministry was a giving ministry. He gave His love, He gave His time and He gave His all. He commands us to give selflessly. Give to the poor and give to the needy. The kind of giving that pleases God is when you give out of your poverty. When you have nothing, but you still give something. God does not want you to give out of your abundance, but rather, to give from your meagre resources. We have seen this in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 21 with the familiar story of the widow’s two mites.
Believers, when you give to the poor, you lend to the Lord. Withholding unduly from giving to God will bring you to poverty. Jesus is saying to us today that just as we excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in love – “see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
We always sing a familiar song, “Give and it will come back to you, good measure, press down, shaken together and running over…” This is how God promises to pour back into our lives when we keep his command by giving.
The poor and the needy will always be among us. So I encourage us to give to the one who asks us, and do not turn away from those who want to borrow from us. Let us be like the widow, who gave her last to the prophet Elijah and like Jesus who gave selflessly to see the expansion of His Father’s kingdom.
We must be reminded that whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and God will repay him for his deed. We are also reminded that it is always more blessed to give than to receive. So let us honor the Lord with our wealth and He will bring the increase. Amen