Have You Received The Rewards Of Your Giving?
By Bo Sanchez
JUL. 26, 2009 (http://bosanchez.ph) - Like any ordinary boy, my 4-year old Francis sometimes quarrels with his playmates. We hear him shout, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”
So for two years now, we’ve been teaching him how to share his toys. We’ve told him, “Francis, sharing is good!” It’s almost a mantra we repeat to him.
We also remind him of the rewards of sharing. “Francis, if you share your toys with your playmates, you’ll have more fun. You’ll gain more friends. You’ll cry less.”
Yesterday, my wife went with our little boy to eat. He ordered fried chicken and palabok. He then asked his mother, “How about you, Mommy?” My wife was touched, elated that the 4-year old was thinking of her. But then the little guy added, “Mommy, why don’t you order French fries? Then you can share it with me. Remember, sharing is good!”
Yes, sharing is good.
What I tell Francis applies to you too: If you share, you’ll have more fun everyday. You’ll gain more friends. And you’ll cry less! Because I believe many of our problems come from not sharing.
Friends, let me introduce you to one of the most powerful forces in the universe. This one thing will give you miracles, deepen you happiness, enrich your relationships, unite your family, prosper your job and business, make your body healthier, and bring you closer to God…
What could this force be? Hint: It’s the real G Force.
Yesterday, I welcomed again this force into my life…
You Don’t Receive Your Rewards Only Once!
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon playing with my boys.
We drew spaceships, airplanes, and roller coasters. We played a video game. (Can you imagine me, a 43-year old guy, playing with his 4-year old kid, Mariocart? I’m nuts.) And finally, I brought Francis to the barbershop. We didn’t have a car yesterday, so we rode the tricycle together. Francis loved it so much. Every time we passed over a hump, he raised his arms and said, “Wheee!”
When we were in the barbershop, Francis had so much fun getting his haircut, making faces on the mirror, twirling on the barber’s chair, laughing and singing the entire time. He was so happy.
But guess who was happier? The Daddy, of course.
Yesterday, I was generous with my time with the kids. Despite a mountain of work that I had to do (including this article), I put it all aside and spent time with the boys.
Instantly, I receive the reward of my generosity. Just listening to the happy laughter of my kids was music to my soul. It made me feel wonderful. It removed my stress, made me healthier, and refreshed my spirit.
Friends, there is an absolute law written in the fabric of universe. It states, “When you give, you will receive a reward.” Always. No exceptions. Oh yes, there can be delays. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for a long time. But the reward will always come.
And the Bible also says that we will receive more than what we give. Example: In the years to come, I know I’ll receive an even greater reward for spending time with my kids yesterday. Because they’ll grow up to be men secure in their father’s love.
It doesn’t end there. In Heaven, I’ll receive even greater rewards. (More on this next week.)
Let me explain why you get rewards.
Too Full To Receive Anything Better
In my talk yesterday, I showed people a big fishbowl filled with grey stones. It was overflowing with them. I then showed some gold nuggets. (Okay, they really weren’t gold nuggets. They were stones covered with gold paper, but don’t spoil my illustration. Imagine them to be really gold nuggets!)
Even if I wanted to put gold nuggets in the bowl, I couldn’t, because it was already filled with stones.
This is a perfect picture of a selfish person.
God is a generous God. He wants to give us better things. But He can’t do that if there’s no space to receive new and better things in our lives.
I then removed one stone from the bowl. I explained to the audience that the first reward of giving is “space”. And space is beautiful. Space means we can grow.
I placed one gold nugget in the bowl, and explained, “Some people give only a little and so receive only a little. But there are people who give more,” I explained, removing more grey stones from the bowl, “and thus create more space for God’s new blessings.” I quickly filled the bowl with more gold nuggets.
Remember, when we don’t receive much, the problem is not in the Giver. The problem is in the Receiver. The Lord wants to give more to our lives (that’s His default posture), but the Receiver has not created enough space to receive more.
And friends, the universe abhors space. The universe will fill up that space with better things.
But what if you don’t get your rewards?
One person asked me, “But Bo, I’ve been giving and giving and giving all my life—but I haven’t been receiving my rewards!”
Perhaps because it may not be generosity at all.
You see, there are two types of giving that happens in the world.
1. When we give because we love
2. When we give because we want to be loved
Look. There’s nothing wrong if you want to be loved. It’s your most basic need. But friends, never use generosity as a way of getting love. That’s toxic. You call that co-dependent love and it’s lethal. Pleasing people so that they will love you is slow suicide.
If your “Love Tank” is empty, you need to do two things. First, ask God to love you. And second, love yourself. Unless you learn to be generous to yourself, your generosity will not be real.
My friend Mila (not her real name) was such a woman. She always gave gifts to her friends. Food. Clothes. Flowers. Sometimes, expensive stuff like cellphones and Ipods. People would tell her, “Oh, you’re so generous.” But deep within, I know Mila is one of the most miserable people on earth. She’s constantly depressed. Because she has no true friends. Her friends are there simply because she gives them stuff. People abuse her constantly, asking things from her.
Mila isn’t receiving the rewards of her generosity because she’s not really generous. She is needy.
When you give out of need, you will become even more needy. But if you give out of love, you will receive more love.
Remember the bowl with grey stones? Mila gives away her white stones—creating space in her heart. But because she’s giving out of need and fear and not out of love, misery and bitterness fill up that space she created.
I repeat: Real generosity is giving out of love, which fills our lives with more love.
And let me share with you the biggest reward of generosity.
The Greatest Reward Of Giving
My friend and fellow preacher Arun Gogna just came from Japan. He met a Filipina there who told him a wonderful story.
Years ago, this Filipina married a Japanese man. Her husband was earning very well and asked her to manage his money. So every payday, he gave all of his money to her.
This Filipina loved God and wanted to follow Him in the area of giving. So she gave 10% of her husband’s earnings to the Lord. When the husband—who was an atheist—found out about it, he asked her, “What are you doing with 10% of my salary?” She said, “I give it to my God.” The amazing thing was that he didn’t object at all. He let her be. So she continued to do it every single month.
Here’s the great news: A few years later, this man converted and is now a baptized Catholic. Today, with his wife, he serves in a ministry in a Church in Japan.
What’s so beautiful about this story? Even before he got baptized, he was already generous to a God whom he didn’t fully know.
Generosity brings you closer to God.
Let me tell you why.
Your Heart Follows Your Treasure
Last year, I bought stocks in Ayala Land.
I noticed that whenever I read the newspaper, I would be very interested to read anything about Ayala Land. I would read their Ads. I would ask people in the industry about what’s happening to this company.
Before I bought stocks in this company, I didn’t give a hoot. I didn’t care. I didn’t read their articles or their ads.
Why the change? Simple: The Bible says that my heart follows my treasure. Wherever my treasure goes, my heart will go there too.
When your money goes to God, your heart goes to Him as well. Yes, even if He really doesn’t need your money.
Tithing Is A Declaration Of God’s Importance In Your Life
God doesn’t need your money.
But why is it that the Bible says over and over again, “Give the first fruits of your harvest to God”? Yes, God doesn’t need your money, but God wants what your money represents. Money represents value. What do you value the most? When you make God your first expense, you’re saying that God is first in your life.
Tithing is a declaration that all things—including your life—belong to God. The Biblical standard of 10% is a fantastic guideline to follow. When you give 10%, you’re saying that 100% belongs to God. Tithing is your declaration of God’s ownership over your life. God gave all that you own. When you die, you’ll give it all back. So all you have is lent to you. You’re a steward of His assets. As stewards, you use material blessings for His purposes. That’s what you declare when you tithe.
Friends, I invite you to give because you love.
And receive the fantastic rewards of generosity.
May your dreams come true,