"Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full -- pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back." Luke 6:38 NLT

He gave until he couldn’t give anymore. His final breath had left his body.

My grandfather was a giver. I have fond memories of him giving to others but also of how much he gave to me -- and not always in monetary form. As a single guy, big expenses challenged my budget. My grandfather frequently came to my rescue: tires, an air conditioner, appliances. And not because he and my grandmother had an overabundance of money. They both existed on meager salaries.

He also gave in other ways. His garden spot was small -- barely enough to feed him and my grandmother throughout the year. Yet he gave away produce to family members, friends and strangers. He gave time, too. When I was small and we lived nearby, he and I spent every weekend at the airport watching small planes land at and depart from the Orangeburg airport. Or at Edisto Gardens, walking among the moss-covered oaks, watching the waterwheel slowly turn, and languishing beside the coursing black river.

After graduating from high school, I lived a few short miles from my grandparents. They gave me an open invitation to visit and eat with them as often as I liked. My visits were frequent -- especially if Dukes Barbecue dotted the menu. And just before his death -- as he lay in one of the local nursing homes with my grandmother by his side -- my grandfather gave me a smile and assured me he was going to heaven.

Jesus cautions that the amount of our giving carries importance and will determine how much we receive in return. But He also notices the proportion of our gift in relation to our income. If we give, He will give back to us, and what He returns will far outweigh the original amount we gave -- and not just in monetary figures.

Giving -- in whatever form it takes -- should be consistent. My grandfather wasn’t moody, inconsistent, or temperamental with his giving. Nor was Jesus. During His entire earthly ministry, Jesus gave consistently to those with needs. We have no record that He ever gave money, but what He gave -- compassion, healing, instruction, salvation -- was more important. Local churches and Christianity in general suffer when believers don’t give regularly.

Love -- and nothing else -- should also motivate our giving. My grandfather had no ulterior motives. He hoped for nothing in return. Nor did Jesus. All He desired was for people to believe in Him. Though churches, businesses, individuals and community organizations still benefit when gifts are given by donors with impure motives, God wants us to give out of untainted love. This type of giving merits His recognition and reward.

Don’t live with a greedy spirit. Live with a giving spirit and an open hand.

Martin Wiles is managing editor of Christian Devotions, assistant editor of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and author of "Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church" and "Grits & Grace & God." His work is featured at thttp://lovelinesfromgod.blogspot.com/.


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