Philanthropy: If Ifs and Buts Were Candy and Nuts….

…..we’d all have a Merry Christmas!

How often do you use the excuse: “But I don’t feel qualified.” “If I knew more about it then I’d help.”  But, I am sure someone else will help her. “If I had more money I’d give to the poor.” Or “If I had more time I would help at the homeless shelter.”  There are a myriad of reasons, baggage from the past, and fears that hold us back from stepping out and helping others at times.

Yet, the example that Jesus provides is consistent.  Even when – his cousin, friend, and prophet  – John the Baptist was murdered and the crowds followed him as he had attempted to get to a quiet place, he had compassion on them.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

It doesn’t say ‘but I cannot help them (the needy crowd) because I need time to myself to mourn” or ‘I can’t help you, what if they are coming to kill me next!’ The text tells us that he “had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:13-21

So in the above scenario we hear the disciples saying, ‘but we cannot feed them, we only have a few fish and bread.’  They are thinking,’ well if we were rich we could run right to town and have a big ole feast, Jesus, but we are not rich, remember we are poor?!’ Obviously, they did not fully understand who they were dealing with!

What did they need to do:  Drop the ifs and buts and take ALL that they had to Christ.

What did Jesus do?  He took what they had; looked up to the Father; gave thanks; believed in His provision; and provided for five thousand men and all of their families.  And it even records there are twelve baskets of leftovers.

What is it that God is asking you to do that you keep putting off because of ifs and buts?  You may never feel qualified, but if you give your all to Him, He will be your strength.

Lord, give us eyes to see people the way you see them.  Fill us with your love to pour out upon others, especially those who are lonely and unloveable. Give us the ability to put other’s needs above our own. We trust you for the strength, the energy and the provision to do all that you call us to.  We ask that you make clear the path and help us to know when to say no to an obligation that is meant for someone else.  Take away any false burdens or regrets from the past and help us to keep our eyes fixed upon you and your strength.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 ESV

Then Job replied to the Lord, “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 NIV

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 NIV

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