“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” Amy Carmichael
I have to confess that I truly do love giving to others – especially those that I love most. I have had to learn over the years to restrain myself on the amount I spend on gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I also enjoy giving, when I can afford the extra going out, to causes that I find trustworthy and supportive. But, there are so many things that we can give other than just material things that cost money. We can give our affections, our talents, our time as well as our money and most of all, our love.
So think for a bit about where you direct all of your different giving. Certainly it normally goes to the things that are most important to us – our family, our friends, our jobs, our church, etc. I believe that is all good and as it should be.
However, as Christians, we need to keep in mind our heavenly Father and how He gave to the world the greatest gift ever given in history – His own son. How deep must love be to give such a sacrifice in order to save mankind? Jesus came to earth as a human, lived a life of sacrifice and gave His own life that we can all be forgiven our sins and look forward to eternity in heaven vs. eternity in hell.
It can be so easy to get distracted and forget what should be our primary focus – what our heart should be directed toward. When we get our priorities in order in our minds and hearts we can make better decisions about our loving and giving.
Micah asks in chapter 6:6-7 what should be brought to the Lord. He touches on the things that Moses’ law directed – animal sacrifices, oil, etc. He even tried to reach out to the pagans by mentioning what some of their society that worshipped false gods adhered to. But, in verse 8 he says that is not what God really wants, he says: “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” That makes it sound so very simple.
(1) To do what is right. You would think that this should not be difficult for us. Provided we have been taught right and wrong we should desire to do the right things. So, why are some people driven to do so much evil? Maybe because they likely lack mercy (compassion) and humility, which are the next two things that the Lord has said are good and required of us.
(2) To love mercy. Vocabulary.com defines mercy this way: “Compassion leads you to have mercy, which is like forgiveness….This is a quality that has to do with compassion, forgiveness, and leniency. If convicted of a crime, you might plead for the judge’s mercy, meaning a lesser punishment. When people say ‘May God have mercy on me!’ they’re asking for forgiveness.” Does not everyone desire to be forgiven? If we desire mercy for ourselves, then we should be willing to give out mercy to others.
(3) To walk humbly with your God. Part of the definition of the word humble in Yourdictionary.com is: “Showing deferential or submissive respect.” With the magnificence of our God, you would think this would be an easy thing for us to do.
I believe that this is simply directing us to put God first in all things. This would bring us around to the place where we can give Him all we should – our time, our gifts, our talents, our affections, our love – in return our blessings will overflow.
We need to strive toward loving and giving, first to God then to others. It should be uppermost in our minds in order to meet the requirements laid out before us – to do what is good.
Jesus said: “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” He then goes on to say “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13 NLT) His life manifested the absolute, ultimate example of those commandments – He died for us all – the perfect example of love from God the Father and Jesus, the man.
Tomorrow (Monday, May 31, 2021) we will be observing Memorial Day. This is a day that has been set aside for us to remember and honor those that lost their lives while serving our nation in the military. Their sacrifice was the ultimate of loving and giving. They “laid down their lives for their friends.” So tomorrow, as you observe this special day, pledge to do what is right, have mercy and walk humbly with your God, every day of your life.
Written by Karran Martin – July 1, 2019 (Revised May 29, 2021)