WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 25, 2021
TOPIC: CULTIVATE A LIFESTYLE OF GIVING
BY T. O. BANSO
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 New King James Version).
Prayer is important. Nevertheless, prayer to meet some needs only becomes effective when you’ve cultivated a lifestyle of giving or sowing seeds. Some people have been praying over certain needs in their lives and have not got any answer. It could be because they’ve not been giving.
In Acts 10:2, the Bible describes Cornelius, a Roman army officer, as a devout man and one who feared God with his entire household. This scripture says Cornelius gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always. Please take note that Cornelius didn’t pray only; he was also a generous giver.
In fact, when he was praying one day at about the ninth hour of the day (3 o’clock) he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God telling him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:4 New King James Version). Again, please take note that the angel made reference to Cornelius’ prayers and alms. Cornelius had a lifestyle of praying and giving. Prayer is not enough.
One lie you can tell yourself is that needs will take care of themselves. The truth is that they don’t always. Rather, they could increase in size and become more embarrassing if you don’t meet them in time. There will always be needs. As you meet one, another one will come, and you must meet them as they come.
In 2 Kings 4, if that widow of one of the sons of the prophets had not been able to meet her financial need, the creditor would have taken away her two sons despite the fact that her late husband was a servant of God who feared God! Thank God, the woman feared the creditor! And that made her run for help from the prophet Elisha, whom God used to deliver her from the financial need that would have embarrassed her further.
2 Kings 4:1 says, “Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen” (King James Version).
The woman obeyed Elisha’s instruction and returned with a testimony of the miracle of the flowing oil. Elisha told the woman, “Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest” (verse 7 King James Version). It was not enough that her husband was one of the sons of the prophets or feared God; the two sons would have remained the servants of their creditor until they paid their debt. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 New King James Version).
It’s not enough that you can pray and you’re praying for provisions. It’s important that you also give or sow seeds that will meet somebody else’s need. The seed could prompt a divine intervention to meet your own needs. Just as the time of your sowing seed is real, so shall the time of your harvest. “As long as the earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night” (Genesis 8:22 New Living Translation).
Some people often think that those who give do so because they have so much. They don’t think that they have because they give. It appears that stingy people are the quickest to expect others to give them gifts. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (New King James Version). But they’ve not watered anyone, yet they’re dreaming of gifts from people.
You cannot miss your harvests if you sow your seeds though you have no control over the form the harvests would come. In 2 Kings 4, the great woman of Shunem received the miracle of a son because of her hospitality to the prophet Elisha. She gave him a room to be staying whenever he came to her town. Later when this only son died, Elisha brought him back to life.
Instead of expecting harvests when one has not sown, one should go and sow seeds. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (New King James Version). The Bible goes further in verse 9 to say, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (New King James Version).
I am not talking about giving or sowing a seed only because you have a need you’re trusting God to meet. If someone is not a giver and is doing that, it would appear as if he is gambling, God knows his heart. I am not saying that giving is the only key to prosperity. I am talking about cultivating giving as a lifestyle in addition to other biblical truths or principles.
There is a promised harvest for those who sow, and their harvest will be dependent on how much they’ve sown. God doesn’t cheat anyone. If you sow little, you’ll reap little. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (New King James Version).
God will not force anyone to give. He always wants cheerful givers and that is why He wants each person to determine what he wants to give. And nothing that is given as an offering or as a seed is a waste (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). Proverbs 19:17 says he who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.
The excuse many give for not giving is their needs. Their usual song is, “I don’t have anything to give. I have needs too and I need people to give me also.” Unfortunately, they do not know that this line of thinking is what the devil is using to perpetuate lack in their lives. The need becomes the barrier to their giving yet the answer to their needs is in their giving.
Hear what Proverbs 11:24-26 says, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself. The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it” (New King James Version).
Everyone is in a position to help someone else. If you want some people to be the answer to your prayer, how many people have you been the answer to their prayers? Some people are selfish and stingy. They think others exist to meet their own needs but they will not allow God to use them to meet the needs of others they’re capable of helping.
A seed is not only money but it includes money. A seed is anything that God has given you that you can give directly to God, God’s causes on earth, or to another person. It may be the time you spend to render assistance to someone or material thing or money you give to the needy, a neighbour, a church, or a minister of God. Give whatever you give cheerfully and generously (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Give; don’t procrastinate. Sowing seeds is not always convenient. The farmer does not sow just because he loves to but because of the harvest that he desires. “He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap… In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6: (New King James Version). If you keep postponing giving, you may never give. This also means you’re postponing your blessing.
It wasn’t convenient for the widow of Zarephath, a foreigner in the land of Sidon, when the prophet Elijah asked her for water and bread in the time of famine. But she obeyed him and gave first to the prophet before she took care of herself and her son. Because of her giving, she never lacked throughout the remaining period of the three and a half years famine (1 Kings 17:12-16; Luke 4:25-26).
Be deliberate about giving. Give cheerfully, regularly, and generously. Give according to your ability. And like a good farmer, take care of your sowing with prayers and confession of the promises of God to give you harvest.
God will always work with what we give Him. Your seeds will always come back to you as harvests and the harvests are always more than the seeds you’ve sown. Jesus said in John 12:24, “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone — a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels — a plentiful harvest of new lives” (New Living Translation). Jesus was talking about His death but there is a lesson in it for seed sowing.
Expect a plentiful harvest! 2 Corinthians 9:10 says God supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food; He will supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness. Those who are stingy only cheat themselves; those who are generous will have their needs supernaturally met just as they’ve met the needs of others.
The New Living Translation renders Proverbs 11:24-25 thus: “It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything. The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
If you cultivate a lifestyle of giving, you will enjoy series of harvests in your life. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it” (Amos 9:13 New King James Version).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I shall not only pray, but I shall also give to others. I shall give cheerfully, regularly, generously, and according to my ability in Jesus’ name. I shall not be stingy; I shall water others and I shall be watered. Father, I receive all my harvests that are due. I shall not miss my harvests in Jesus’ name. O Lord, help those who are not givers to cultivate a lifestyle of giving.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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