So last week’s sermon (I heard the majority of it but had to take my daughter back into the nursery toward the end) was on reaching out to people. Something I’ve had a hard time with since… well, forever.

The pastor used Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well as an example. I like that he (the pastor) said, “Notice Jesus doesn’t go up to her and say, ‘Hey – you need me in your life.'” (regardless of the fact she does). Instead, Jesus drew her out and talked to her. He cared about her.

I’m pretty sure God is working on my life in this way. Not long ago I read a blog (and now I can’t find it, ugh! If you know what I’m talking about, let me know in the comments, please!) in which the writer, while she put her groceries in her car, was approached by a woman asking for some money. From what I remember, the writer of the blog said that her immediate thoughts were “She’ll probably go spend it on something bad…” and things like that – excuses we all make when it comes to giving to people on the streets – or even people we know. In the end, though, she felt that God was telling her to give to the woman and let Him do the work on her heart. I can’t remember exactly what she said to the woman, but she reminded her that God loved her and gave her some of the money she had on her.

That story really moved me. Areas in my life that need to change became glaringly clear to me. Where in the bible does it say to give to the poor and needy only if you can be sure they spend it on what you think it should be spent on? That’s not what giving is about. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t use good judgment when giving. Only that if we were focusing on Jesus and what He says about giving, it might change the way we feel about it. I personally needed an attitude adjustment. Not only does this apply in my life to giving money to the poor, but in giving my time and prayers to others. I’ve struggled with this in the past (and even present) – if I do something for someone and it seems unappreciated (or misused), I feel hurt and angry and unwilling to do it again in the future. Not a good attitude. So I’ve been praying and asking God to change my heart so He can use me.

Another way I would like to change is to be less shy with people. I’ve found myself thinking, “I should go over and introduce myself to that person…” and then talk myself out of it because I don’t want them to think I’m too forward, or maybe they don’t want to be approached (by a weirdo like me, lol), or [insert completely logical excuse here]. I so admire people who are friendly and open and act like they care about you right from the get-go – I wish I could be more like that! I can do it online better than I can in real life, lol. I really want to. I hope it’s something I can learn to do as I get older – to be less self-conscious and think more about others.

I’m so thankful God is faithful and always willing to change our hearts for the better when we ask. :-)

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. – Psalm 24:1

What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you ever been in a situation where you gave to someone and it seemed unappreciated? I’d love to know how you handle this kind of thing. :-)

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7 Responses to My thoughts on giving to others

  • You, my dear, are so right! It’s something most of us could be reminded of every day.

    These days, while we are so short-staffed, I like to do help my co-workers out with their workloads, but it seems that I get caught up in worrying about whether or not they appreciate what I do for them. You know, it shouldn’t matter that they do or don’t appreciate my help. Not one bit.

  • I agree. Joe and I were in Eugene a few weeks ago and there are all kinds of people on the streets there needing help. And we came to that same conclusion, we give and God is responsible for the outcome. That frees us up so we don’t have to judge them, and we’ve done what God wants and can move on to whatever is next.

  • Oh, yes! I am in this situation daily with my brother. He is a single father whom I do ALOT for! It never seems to go appreciated! I keep reminding myself, which is a daily thing, that I am NOT doing this for him. I do it for the Lord. Whatever you do unto the least of these my brothers, you do it as unto ME– says the Lord!!

  • What a thought provoking post. One thing that I have started doing as I visit new blogs, is pray for that person. I don’t even know them and they don’t know I even exist….yet, here I am praying for them.

    I don’t know if they would appreciate it or not – so it gets me focused on doing it for all the right reasons (and not regretting it).

    Great post.

  • My thoughts on giving to strangers… the act of obedience to God in the giving is the important part. It’s not my place to pre-judge what they will do with it. If you KNOW it’s of God to give, He will reward you better than that person ever could with appreciation!

    Maybe I’m just weird (or called), but I have always prayed for those who require help when I hear sirens. I have no idea who they are, and probably never will, but that’s not important.

    As for overcoming shyness, you just have to trust God that he will use you because you never know how words affect another person–even just a ‘hello’ and a smile!

    Great post, Lindsey!

  • I always have a hard time with that question as well. I feel like I don’t give enough and I don’t know who I should give to. What a great question, thanks for bringing it up.

  • What a nice blog! Ive been trying to give more recently in a lot of ways, too. Im also guilty of the same thing you wrote about here. I dont mean to spam you with my link, by judging by your blog, I really think you would like my blog
    http://kindnesskorner.blogspot.com/
    its all about giving and kidness and I have a kindred spirit games every Wednesday to encourage more giving…even if its of oneself and not monetary.
    Have a great day!

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