We eliminate barriers to give people access to Christ
"Give": it's what Christians do. Why? Because it is what God does...it is His nature. God gives generously (James 1:5). I was recently challenged while reading Deuteronomy 15. God has just given the Promised Land to the children of Israel and God tells them 'not to be selfish,' but rather openhanded and to lend whatever someone needs. [side note: The Message says "Look at him ("someone who's in trouble or needs help among you")." We must see with God's eyes. God looks...and he see the whole picture including the ugly and needy and 'dirty rag' and sinner parts. He actually wants to see the good, the bad and the ugly. This is what I was talking about in my blog about 'barriers.' We must want to "look."]
Deuteronomy 15:7-15 New International Version (NIV)
7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
12 If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free. 13 And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. 14 Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.
The Message (MSG)
7-9 When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that GOD, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending you don't see him. Don't keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don't count the cost. Don't listen to that selfish voice saying, "It's almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled," and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He'll call GOD's attention to you and your blatant sin. 10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers GOD, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. 12-15 If a Hebrew man or Hebrew woman was sold to you and has served you for six years, in the seventh year you must set him or her free, released into a free life. And when you set them free don't send them off empty-handed. Provide them with some animals, plenty of bread and wine and oil. Load them with provisions from all the blessings with which GOD, your God, has blessed you. Don't for a minute forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and GOD, your God, redeemed you from that slave world.
For that reason, this day I command you to do this.
God's command is to give "freely," "generously," and "don't be stingy," or have a "grudging heart." The clincher of this passage are the final verses...
"Give to him (the person in need) as the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today."
- And God has given from the beginning of creation of the world. (Gen 1:29)
- God gave us his one and only Son. (John 3:16).
- God gives us peace. (John 14:25)
- God gave us a Counselor, the Holy Spirit. (Jn. 14:26, Lk. 11:13, Jn. 15:26)
- God gave us eternal life. (I Jn. 5:11)
- God gives us truth. (Jn. 15:26)
- God gives strength to the weary. (Is. 40:29)
- God gives us the victory. (I Cor. 15:57)
And I could go on and add verse after verse. In fact, if you want to have your socks blown off and stand in awe of God (like Joe Horness is going to talk about this weekend) pick up your Bible and concordance and start adding to this list. It will change your day, I promise!
And after you have been blessed to take in all the fullness of God's giving, then run out and GIVE...!!!! Give as God in his fullness has given to you,.... since the beginning of creation and the journey with the children of Israel, up to his very personal story in your life. God has done everything since the beginning of time to give to YOU. And if you ask, he will give everything (literally!) to you for the rest of eternity! And after you are filled up with all that awe of God's "giving" to you, remember that there is still something better.....
It is more blessed to GIVE than to receive. (Act 20:35)
Giving is what Christians do. We eliminate barriers to GIVE people access to Christ!