Are you rich? Chances are you are like most of us who cannot claim millionaire status. When it comes to giving to and blessing others, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have anything worthwhile to give if you can’t give money. Thankfully, that is simply untrue.
There are people who have been blessed, many through extremely hard work and sacrifice, with a generous salary or accumulated wealth. It is a blessing when such people give generously, willingly, and cheerfully of their abundance to others, but giving money is not the only giving you can do. Giving of your time and energy can be just as much of a blessing, if not more, than simply giving money to those in need.
If giving money was all there was to blessing people, there would be no need for missionaries. What good would money do in a mission’s situation if there were not people willing to give up their time, comforts, familiar foods, and way of life to bring the gospel, supplies, medicine, and other needed goods to other lands?
Additionally, your mission field is where you are now. There are many families in need located right in your home town. They do need money, but many of them also need repairs on their homes, help with childcare, or medical attention. Money is valuable to these families (but only for the purchasing power of the goods and services they really need), but encouragement, guidance, and physical labor are desperately needed as well.
Early in your marriage, you may not be rolling in loads of cash. If you are, thank the Lord for intrusting you with His money and ask Him how you can use it to bless others (I Corinthians 10:26).
Even if you are able to give money to help others, don’t use that as an excuse to never give of your time or energy. Time and care is always more valuable than money. We sometimes get busy and think that if we drop a few twenty-dollar bills into a service project fund or church building fund that we’ve done our part, but those projects only get accomplished when people give sacrificially of themselves – time, money, energy, and expertise.
Here’s what I’ve learned about giving in my own life: When I give to someone else, it is a humbling, blessed experience for… me! Sometimes, I set out to bless someone only to have that person bless my socks off with his or her godly advice, encouragement, or prayer. Other times I go to sacrificially give of my time to someone only to be reminded of the depth of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. How amazing!
When I’m tempted to be prideful about my giving, God is quick to remind me that I cannot do anything worthwhile outside of Him. Bottom line: when I give my time, efforts, or money to others, it changes me; it is a growing experience for me. God uses those times to stretch and sanctify me. Acts 20:35b says “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (ESV). Giving to others is a beautiful extension of what Christ has given to you. When pride tries to sneak into our lives we need to remember that we can never out give God.
When you are trying to decide whether someone you are interested in is marriage material, or if the man or woman you are dating is ready to move into marriage, first notice his or her approach to giving. Spend some time thinking of ways you can bless others together and then go out and do them. If you spend the first year of your life looking for ways to bless others, you won’t have as much time to focus on how your needs aren’t being met. Many first year fights could be avoided if couples would turn the focus off of what they want/need and refocus their attentions to the needs of others. When you spend time caring for others, it’s amazing how content you become with your own fortunes in life.
What are some ways you and your significant other can give of your time and/or energy to others?