Yesterday I received my latest pack of goodies that I won in a random drawing from Anne-Marie aka. the Soap Queen. I got some wonderful organic essential oils. I will truly be able to put them to use in making some goodies to give away. See, lately I have been making all sorts of goodies. Recently I have made natural soap, lip balm, bath fizzies, bath salts, lotion, emulsifying sugar scrubs, sachets, therapy packs, laundry detergent, and shower spray. I have had a blast. But I have given them all away. I have not, to date, made a penny off any of those things. A business is on the horizon, but for now, I can just make stuff for fun to surprise people with.
People call me lucky. They ask to know my secret. They wonder how I win so much. They hate to go to a Mary Kay or Pampered Chef party that I am at, as I am frequently the winner of the door prize. Some of us from church even went to a Group Publishing event, and I won the big prize, a women's retreat kit valued at over $100. A friend of mine just rolled her eyes and said "I knew it would be you".
Wanna know my secret? I give almost all of it away. As soon as I see the prize my mind starts working. At a Mary Kay party, the prize is some sort of peppermint leg lotion, I get this immediate thought. "Ohh, Teresa would love that. She is diabetic, and her legs hurt alot. I wish she was here to win it." And I win it and give it to her. The retreat kit? I gave it to our church's women's ministry. (It is a chocolate retreat kit- yum!) They need it more than I do.
I really don't believe in luck. Luck implies that your winning was random, without purpose. I believe that everything we receive has been given to us for a purpose. But we have free will to choose what to do with what we receive. If God ensures that we have enough money or stuff to meet our needs (that's needs - not wants), and still have some left over, we have a choice of what to do with the surplus. I truly believe that if I use the surplus as a tool to help others, more will come my way. I have seen so much evidence of this. That is when he expects me to fulfill some of my wants. *The weird thing is that the more you give, the more your wants change. But to truly open the floodgates to abundance, I need to give, and I need to share.
God doesn't want us to worship any God but him. And we are naturally prone to worship money and possessions in the society we live in. We put them on a pedestal. We attempt to fill ourselves with more stuff and more money. We want to know what belongs to us. We don't easily give it up.
I know several charitable people. They give away all the stuff they no longer need or want, rather than sell it. But how many people do you know that give away things they still use just because another person may need or want it? I think of the story in the Bible about the woman who gave all she had, though it was very little. Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4
This is at the root of koinonia. Sharing, giving, distributing. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. Acts 2:45-47
Don't get me wrong. This is not a command of God. It is not something he demands of us. It is an opportunity he provides for us. It is the key to obtaining the favor of God. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. Prov 8:35 Favor from God is an awesome thing. It can mean finding an open parking space, running upon a green light, even winning a drawing. It always provides a feeling of peace, a feeling of joy, and a feeling of contentment. It is filling, and it is lasting. And that is much more rewarding than feeling lucky. After all, luck always turns.
So.....a new year! A new goal? I wrote an article awhile back about whether we can out give God. I think this year I am going to try. Wanna join me?
**I highly recommend you read 2 Corinthians 8 about how generosity is encouraged. Very cool passage!