“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures onearth, where moth and rust destroy and where thievesbreak in and steal,but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also........
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."
For the past couple of weekends we've had kids over for sleepovers. I can say, with all honesty, that I've been excited about seeing their excitement about being here.
I spent all day, literally all dayMonday cleaning the house, and washing laundry from all the sleepover madness. A couple of the younger boys told me they had a blast spending the night and could not wait to do it again. So, as I finished cleaning the kitchen I decided to fix my 'sweet pea' a lunch for school. As I go into my pantry I notice the Capri Sun box was empty...Now wait a minute..didn't I just buy these a couple of weeks ago???? Did I mention they were from Sams Club..uh, yea...thatwas a lot of Capri Sun missing ,now granted one box 'sweet pea' had already run through...the other two....wow...So with a frustration inside, I call my hubbie quick to ask about the juice boxes. Now let me make this clear, the boys did not steal, they have been told that they are free to eat and drink what they may as long as they ask,the LORD knew I did not need to be there because I am sure they would have asked me and I, maybe would have answered 'no' for some selfish reasons. Anyway, all those that know me, know how frustrated I may have been. Here are my expectations...Have people over, feed them, clothe them if needed, but they cant HAVE EVERYTHING... As I sat there allowing my mind to wander....the spiritual battle had begun
"Oh God, we've opened our homes what else could you possible want"
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
"but my baby really needed this stuff for her lunch, this happens all the time...we dont have money like that to feed people all the time with everything we have, you know LORD..."
"Nicole, I, your GOD will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus... have I not before EVERYTIME this happens??"
Lord, but this is just to hard, I dont know if I can keep doing this...its begining to be too much, somebody needs a drink, somebody needs to eat, somebody cant find their mama..."
(Nicole), My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in (your) weakness."
I begin to feel soo convicted at that moment..why, why do I keep allowing myself to go down a path that can lead to discouragement. I felt so bad about being so frustrated and very convicted over a Capri Sun ( though its not all the time Capri Suns, it has been leftovers I was attempting to save, or some drink in the fridge, or some snack in my pantry) Whatever the case, the LORD USED the Capri Sun to reveal to me, yet again how selfish I am, as well as how I am trying to serve TWOmasters..one being me. This is my heart, this is a area in my heart the LORD wants to purify for His kingdom purposes. After having this battle,I ranquickly to my bible & pulled up a sermon by John Piper. ( now why did I do that??) Pastor Piper begin to teach me what it means to lavishly give, love my guest, and live Christ like in the context of hospitality.
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.- 1 Peter 4:7-9
I needed to learn what it meansto be a cheerful giver and not grumble at whatever it was the LORD wanted to teach me. Wasnot the LORD SOVEREIGN over this??
Something was standing in the way of my giving, of my loving on these boys and girls in the way I believe the LORD wants me to..
here is what Piper says:
Obliviousness. For whatever reason, you may have never even thought about giving away your money regularly. It never occurred to you that this is part of worship (verse 1). The height of virtue for you is, “Thou shalt not steal.” Good start. But now God is calling you to hear the New Testament command. Not just: Don’t take what’s not yours, but give what is yours. “Contribute to the needs of the saints.” “Let him who contributes do so generously.” Don’t be oblivious anymore.
Carelessness. Perhaps we are not oblivious. We know this is what people who love Christ do. But we just never seem to get around to planning how much and when and where to give. Things just slide. God has appointed this message to bring you to a critical new place in your walk with him this week. Don’t be careless. Be thoughtful. Be intentional.
Greed—the desire to keep more than we need. The spirit of greed groans when it gives. It thinks of all the things we could buy if we didn’t give. The biblical alternative to this is not disciplined groaning. The alternative is a new heart and the joy of being free from the bondage of greed. It’s the glad experience that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Don’t live in the bondage of greed. Be free.
Fear that we won’t have what we need. Fear is the flip side of greed. Greed focuses on what we don’t have but would like to have. Fear focuses on the consequences of not having what we need to have. The answer to greed is the pleasure of Christ’s presence. The answer to fear is the certainty of Christ’spromise. Don’t live in fear. Be satisfied with Christ, and trust his promises.
yeaaaa, that last one has my name written all over it.. I was not trusting the LORD and how he was going to provide what we needed as a family. I fail at this soo many times in the midst of living incarnationally.
Even when it comes to being hospitable at times.. I get in this runt of not wanting people over.. again I am not saying that its wrong to say, "not today we area going to rest," I am talking about just the sinnful selfish heart that has other motives...
Here is what Piper Says:
"What about hospitality? What stands in the way of being as hospitable as we should be? Here there a whole cluster of fears. Fear that people will just take too much time if they come over, or if they stay here for a season. Fear that they will think you don’t keep house very well. They might open that closet door or look in the kid’s bedroom. Fear that they will mess up your house—your nice carpet and nice furniture and nice linens. Fear that they will be hard to talk to and conversations will be awkward. And so on. You can see the bondage of fear so many Christians seem to live in."
I know I have once lived in this type of fear and I am soo ready to be free. I am thankful for this lesson, and I know the temptation will continue until the LORD has my undivided heart, my possessions, my money and my trust in Him. I like how Randy Alcorn puts it : "“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving”.
Oh Father, may I give joyously, always remembering how much was given for me. The mercies of God were bought by the blood of Jesus, and they are new every morning with fresh generosity and fresh hospitality. This is how we become generous and hospitable. We enjoy and expect God’s lavish help in all our giving and all our hospitality.
"Lavish giving and open homes are close to the center of life in Christ. The reasons we don’t open our checkbooks and homes as often as we should are rooted in the bondage of fear and greed. The remedy is the pleasure of Christ’s presence and the certainty of Christ’s promise. My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Our reward is the display of God’s glory, the good of others, and the joy of treasuring Christ together forever. Therefore I exhort you, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality"- John Piper