Given Much

When I started this blog, my goal was to help women find their passion by recognizing how God had uniquely designed and equipped them for the good deeds He prepared for them. My belief was that in doing this, they would also find far more life — satisfaction, fulfillment, joy, and more — in their relationship with Him. My desire is that each reader would see herself as God does and be inspired to connect deeply with Him, draw what she needs from His unlimited supply, and expend her energy loving those He has placed in her life.

The need for godly influence in our society is great; the news and social media overflow with reports of spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. It is easy to get caught up in the debate about how the needs should be met and never do anything to help meet them. It is also easy to be paralyzed by guilt for not recognizing the needs or acting sooner.

Today I asked myself, “If Jesus was on the earth today, how would He respond to these needs? How should I respond to them as His representative?”

How we answer those questions depends on our understanding of Jesus’ perspective. Do we view Him as a humanitarian reformer? An uninvolved deity watching from afar? A wise teacher or philosopher? Lord and Savior? Jesus took on multiple roles during His time on earth, but He had one overarching life goal:

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me…my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40, NIV)

Jesus’ primary goal was to meet our biggest need: reconciliation with God that results in forgiveness of our sin and eternal life with God. He was unwavering and unapologetic about that goal. But Jesus met physical and emotional needs — which people perceived to be bigger — to gain the opportunity to talk about those spiritual needs. He confirmed that He was the fulfillment of this prophecy:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19, NIV)

Proclaim good news. Offer freedom to prisoners. Restore sight to the blind. Free the oppressed. Usher in the time of the Lord’s favor. Each one of these meets a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Some of these could only be accomplished by Jesus, the Messiah. But we can follow His example in others.

As I pondered how to accomplish this, I remembered:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48, NIV)

Would you be surprised to learn that this verse applies to you? It is not just for those who are richer, wiser, more influential, or better educated. If you are God’s child, YOU have been given much in at least one area. Using your “much” to honor and glorify God by loving people is far more life!

  • Maybe you have been given much compassion. Jesus expects you to show much compassion to those around you.
  • Maybe you have been given great problem-solving skills. Jesus expects you to devise and share (and maybe implement!) solutions for others’ needs.
  • Maybe you have been given vast communication skills, influence, or followers. Jesus expects you to share His message with others and offer them His truth and grace in love.
  • Maybe you have been given much energy. Jesus expects you to joyfully invest yourself in helping others. There are so many ways to help, choose one that you are excited about.
  • Maybe you have been given much time. Jesus expects you to use it in pursuits that will reveal Him to others. There are many people and organizations you can help with your time and skills.
  • Maybe you have much wealth. Give much to people and organizations who are meeting needs for Christ!

I believe every child of God has been given “much” of something. We do not all have the same resources, skills, talents, and interests because God’s plan requires diverse contributions. As each person does their part, the bigger need is met. This is stated clearly in Scriptures:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  (I Corinthians 12:4-7, NIV)

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. (Romans 12:4-6, NIV)

You have a unique and important role to play in God’s plan. He has given you specific gifts and allowed specific circumstances so you can serve as His representative. He wants you to partner with Him in meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those around you. As you give much, you will grow far more life.

Sisters,
What is an area of our society or world where you see a great need?
How do you view Jesus (reformer, teacher, deity, Lord, or something else)? How does that influence what you do for Him to meet others’ needs?
What “much” have you been given? How can you use that to glorify God by meeting others’ physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?
Thank God for your “much” — and far more life!
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso
Photo credit: Jenjoe Marsh

All We Need

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life …For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 1:3, 5-8, NIV)

God has promised to give His children all they need for life on earth. During challenging times, it is comforting to recall these promises and know that God has our back, that He will come through for us. But these verses make it clear His goal is not simply to make us more comfortable. If that is our expectation, we will be sorely disappointed and may even conclude that God is NOT keeping His promise to meet our needs. Far more life understands our comfort in this life is not God’s primary concern. He desires something better for us!

In the Bible passage above, God shared our biggest need: a godly life fueled by His divine power. This is His greatest calling for us. What does He tell us to focus on in order to attain it? Mostly character qualities. Rather than being concerned about our homes, possessions, or bank account, God puts the emphasis on growing our goodness and knowledge of Him, increasing our self-control and perseverance, adding to our godliness and affection for others, and expanding our love. Consistently choosing to let God’s power make us more like Jesus is far more life.

What is God’s purpose in developing our character so we can be empowered to live a godly life?

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV)

God has good works for us to do, to bring Him glory and accomplish His goals. We cannot see the big picture of His master plan. But we can trust that we each have a unique role to play in accomplishing it because He has told us so. He has given us particular talents, gifts, and interests that are necessary for the tasks He has assigned to us. We find far more life as we are engaged in His good works.

I encountered a wonderful God-loving manager in my first job out of college. He assigned work to his staff based on their skills and experience. Then he asked each person, “What do you need from me to be successful in your job?” He was not a cruel or demanding task-master. Instead he came alongside his employees to make sure they had everything they needed to do their jobs well. I appreciated his example of how God treats His children.

Sometimes God intends for our good works to benefit other people. Rather than looking only at our own lives, our own needs, and our own tasks, God instructs us to be involved with others. There are over 100 “one another” statements in the Bible and almost 60 of them tell us how to relate to others. Far more life gives to others, trusting God to provide for us. Although finances or material items are the first things that come to mind when we hear about “giving,” God’s economy is much more diverse! Sometimes we are asked to give our time. At other times it is our physical, mental, or emotional energy. On yet other occasions we need to give spiritual encouragement. Even praying for people is a form of giving! All are important to God and He equips us for all. Consider this exhortation from Paul to the Philippians:

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles….and my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:14, 19, NIV)

The Philippians invested in Paul and Timothy’s ministry by meeting their physical and emotional needs. Not just when they were together, but as Paul and Timothy traveled to multiple cities sharing the gospel, the Philippians continued to pray for, encourage, and financially support them. Here Paul is reminding them that God is dependable and trustworthy and WILL give them all that they need. It is not hard for Him. He is not inconvenienced or put out by having to supply it. He is rich and generous and wants to repay their blessing others with a blessing. Far more life invests in others, knowing God is the ultimate supplier.

The Bible includes illustrations of people making wise and foolish investments (Matthew 25, Luke 9:1-9). God expects us to be discerning and use our knowledge, experience, and common sense to judge what and when we should give. But we can be confident that investing in God’s work will not spiritually bankrupt us. God can and will provide all we need.

Do you want to consistently experience far more life? Accept all God offers to develop your character, do the good works He has designed for you, and invest in others. You will see firsthand how He keeps His promise to provide all you need for godliness and far more life!

Sisters,
What is your response to the idea that God’s definition of “all you need” is not what makes your life comfortable?
Do you believe that living a godly life is your biggest need and greatest calling?
How have you seen God supply what you needed to do His good works?
Have you experienced far more life from giving to or investing in others? When?
Thank Him for providing all you need for godliness and far more life!
-Shari

Copyright 2020, Shari Damaso