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By Pastor Jim Neal
First Southern Baptist Church, Shafter 

Pastor's Corner - June 27, 2019

Allow yourself to be molded

 


Proverbs 28:27: “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.”

Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Were you raised in a home where your parents, grand-parents or care givers told you over and over that “it was more blessed to give than to receive?” I surely was and today am extremely glad to have had that “life lesson” drummed endlessly into my psyche as I have truly found that axiom to be so true.

I can still vividly remember the Christmas’, as we tore open our gifts, giving little thought to the hours it took to beautifully wrap them, the look of excitement and love in my parent’s eyes and the expressions of joy that visibly shown on their faces. However, what I remember more fondly now than then was the love and affection in my mothers’ eyes when she opened the carelessly wrapped cheap gift I had bought and wrapped for her. I often wonder what she did with all that cheap perfume bought at the local “Five & Dime” store.

Oh, there was this one occasion that a gift was not so lovingly received. That was on a Mother’s Day when I was 8. I had captured a green garden snake put it in an empty Folgers coffee can covered it with dry grass and proudly presented it to Mom as an additional gift. Needless to say, that was one time when it was definitely not more “blessed to give than receive.”

The thoughts today convey two concepts: 1) the admonition to give to those less fortunate than ourselves and 2) the Lord’s desire is to give to US personally!! Truthfully most of us have little or no trouble wrapping our minds around that first one; we may not be as faithful as we should be; however, we believe it just the same. It is with this second concept that we become somewhat puzzled and perhaps even a little bit “frazzled”. Why is that?

There may be a myriad of reasons as to why this is true for most; but I believe that the reason for our mysterious confluence to the second concept is wrapped up in a misguided concept of “worthiness.” For most the ability to receive graciously is unconsciously bound in the our “feelings” of having to do something to deserve the gift, the reward or the compliment. Whether conscious or not most people feel they must look, act, feel or smell right to be deserving of any gift.

The Psalmist speaks of just the opposite with the use of the word “delight.” This Hebrew word takes on the meaning of becoming soft and pliable as the clay used by the potter to form, mold and create pottery. The implication becomes quite obvious and is this; as we become as the soft and pliable clay on the potters wheel the hands of the loving caring Lord forms, molds and creates a vessel that allows the desires of our hearts to be fulfilled. As we allow and trust our Creator God to mold us into the vessel of His choosing our own ability to receive the gifts for which we were intended to receive becomes an act of worship and not a reward for which we have somehow become worthy.

It is in this molding process that we complete the cycle of giving and receiving. It is only after we begin to understand the divine principle of giving and receiving that as we give to those less fortunate or to those serving God in a unique service that we realize we are giving as He gives out of a heart filled to over-flowing with love and compassion and not out of duty or obligation. It is then and only then that the glorious glowing light of Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:38 shall illumine and radiate in your very soul: “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)

VICTORY VIEWS:

• Do one random act of kindness every day

• Give often to individuals or organizations that will never be able to repay you

• As much as possible give anonymously: Matthew 6:3: "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” (NKJV)

Jim Neal is paster of First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.

 

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