Are you giving to others or letting others take?

Yesterday I watched the movie End of the Spear. I highly recommend watching it, though maybe read this post later if you intend to watch it as there will be some spoilers. The movie is about 5 missionaries who set out to make contact with the indigenous people in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador. A misunderstanding leads to the 5 missionaries being speared to death. The tragedy allows for the families of the martyred missionaries to be allowed into the village and teach the Gospel transforming the Waodani and bring to an end the revenge killings that had decimated the Waodani people. At the end of the movie there is a scene where Mincayani tells Steve Saint that it is he who killed Steve’s father and that Steve should kill him. Steve’s response is, “No one took my father’s life; he gave it.”

That really got me thinking, what is my outlook on life?

When I do things for others is it from a spirit of giving to edify and help them? Or a spirit of reluctance, doing things for them so they will like me?

When I offer my life and the things God has given me back to God am I giving them to Him to use as He sees best? Or am I holding onto things and making Him pry open my gripping fingers and take them from me?

Maybe some examples will help highlight the difference.

A friend calls and needs advice and I drop everything to spend an hour on the phone with them. Am I giving them that hour of my time because I care about them? Or am I allowing them to take that time from me since I was afraid if I didn’t answer and speak with them they wouldn’t like me anymore?

Did God take away my health and ability to live an arthritis and brain fog free life when I was 17 and diagnosed with Chronic Lyme?  Or did I give my health to Him freely to use in a manner that helped the most people see Him no matter what the cost to me?

For me it is convicting to think about. I know I want to have a giving spirit, but it takes a lot of discipline of the mind to drive away the selfish motivations and focus on the unselfish ones.

But if we focus on giving our anxiety will decrease because we won’t be focused on what we might lose, but instead what others might gain.

If I give my time to people because I want to help and be a blessing to them I won’t be struggling with anxiety the whole time wondering if that was enough for them to like me and continue to think well off me.

If I give my pets to God and trust Him to know what is best instead of thinking of of Him taking my pets from me one day, I won’t be anxious all the time wondering when I am going to lose them and missing out on the fun I get to have with them now.

So please consider what spirit is behind your actions.

And if we struggle to have a spirit of giving we remember we have a Savior who gave His life for ours, so that we can do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).