8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
This verse clearly refers to the spiritual riches we have received in Jesus Christ. As we receive forgiveness, healing and deliverance, we are summoned to give this freedom in Jesus to others in need. However, the principle of giving challenges us in every area of our lives:
I was in my early twenties when I met a man who spoke about “Living a life of giving”. He was tall, skinny and had a twinkle in his eye as he told our group of students how he managed to live on 10% of his income, while giving away 90% to help local churches in Mexico who needed roofs on the churches they built themselves. He was definitely not in rags, or underfed, he had a lovely place to live, a family which he looked after and yet, he managed to give away most of his income.
I was even younger when I met a French lady who had access to one of the biggest hotel groups in Europe at that time. She used most of her income to make sure that every hotel room in that entire chain had a Bible in the room. Yet she was completely taken care of, well groomed to the point that I really admired her looks and had, once again, a sparkle in her eyes.
In the Kingdom of God, riches are gained by GIVING, not hoarding. Luke 6:38 teaches us: ”Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put in your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
This is true for every resource in your life – time, money, talents, hospitality, skills and love: the more you give, the more you get. I am not advocating that you blindly quit your job and give everything away and possibly become an embarrassment to the Kingdom of God. I am challenging you to a deeper walk with God, where you obey recklessly when you hear his voice, you trust him explicitly to provide everything you need while you are doing all you can being hard-working and responsible and all the other good virtues the Bible advocates.
2 Cor 9:7-8 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” We give because we understand that our provision is unlimited in God – he owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is able to do immeasurably more than you can think or imagine.
Ps 50:10 “For every beast of the forest in mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
Eph 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”
We do not give to get – we give because we got! God saved us, freed us from bondage and sin and from a life without meaning. Mostly, we give because we stand in a love relationship with the Father who created us. What an incredible privilege, to be a steward of the one who created the universe – the possibilities are unlimited, if we can only lift up our eyes and see that the One who saved us is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider!
2Cor 9:10 : “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”