Thursday, September 27, 2012

Open Hands

 In my heart I was grumbling. In the last week I had received five different requests for money. 

Some were urgent.  Some were for large sums.  And some were "by the way" requests.

I have mentioned it before on this blog, but white skin here in Uganda is associated with wealth.  The "Mzungus" have "dollar skin."

Why, all of a sudden, in a week's time were all these people asking for money? And for money I don't have?

Then this morning God revealed my twisted thinking.  Perhaps those requests were opportunities to be a blessing to someone else.  Maybe He  was the one who had sent the people. He reminded me that He blesses me in order that I might be a blessing to others.

Ever since I was introduced to the concept that God's promise to Abraham to "be blessed...and to be a blessing" (Gen. 12:2) is also for every believer, who are children of Abraham by faith, I have loved that concept.  I so want other Christians to embrace it, too.

God has blessed us in order to make us a blessing.  Amazing.  

His blessings don't stop with the first recipient, they are meant to be passed on and on and on. We are created to be conduits of His free-flowing gifts of love and grace. 

It is awesome to think that God's resources are limitless. They never run dry, they never reduce or diminish.  We keep giving, He will keep pouring and adding.  We can't outgive God.

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19

Perhaps my stinginess came from the thought that I was giving out of my resources, yet all that I have is from Christ. There is absolutely nothing that I have earned - all of it is a gift from Him, a benefit of His amazing grace.  So, why was I having a problem sharing?

The above verse promises me that if I am a willing and free-flowing vessel of God's blessings and riches that He will meet all of my needs out of His Heavenly storehouse of riches.

Yes, I do have needs - felt needs.  One of the challenges of ministry is that you often are seen of "having it together" and "not having needs."  "You're the missionary - aren't you supposed to be giving, serving, teaching, counseling, befriending, sacrificing, day in and day out?"

Do the Ugandans understand that I may be lacking, too?  Do the students know I, in myself, have limited resources?  Do those I serve with know I could just use an occasional hug or a word of encouragement?  

God, if I am giving and giving and giving, who is going to meet my needs?

Then He whispers loud and clear - I AM.  I WILL. 

Oh, you mean the One who has been meeting my needs all along, whether I know it or acknowledge it or not?  Why do I keep looking to man for what only God can provide?

He reminds me of how He has met my needs in ways I did not expect.  And not only meeting my needs, but heaping on extra blessings.

In the last week I have also received three gifts of fish from two different village women who are young Christians.  Fish is expensive and they could have sold it to get money for their family's needs.  Instead they shared it with me.  A teacher gives me a shirt, knowing I might wear that style.  A student brings a cup of water.  A friend holds her umbrella over my head during a hot boat ride.  I am blessed by gestures of friendship and sweet bits of conversation.

This evening I enjoy an incredible evening of "spoilin'" with 60 other missionary women by those who "appreciate what we do here."

God's blessings often come in roundabout ways from unexpected sources in His own unique timing, yet He knows my needs better than I know them myself. And when I choose to complain or grumble, I have closed my eyes to God's daily gifts of grace.  And when I am stingy, I am denying the benevolence of my Almighty God.  So, why not continue to give and give, because only then will I continue to receive from the Heavenly Storehouse.  And, who does not want heavenly riches?

"And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.   
"The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
"You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." - Isaiah 58:10-11 

Photo Source: Microsoft Office 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing from the heart on this subject. This is an ongoing struggle I also have here in Kenya. Resources are few and needs are great and I end up stressing about "who" I should give to and "how much" or "what" I should give. I realized however that all the stressing kept the real issues of my heart hidden. Did I truly acknowledge & understand that ALL I have is from HIM and that HIS supply is infinite....and was I willing to trust that HIS grace and provision are sufficient! Yikes! Your thoughts on this subject have given me new insight and encouragement...thanks!!