Reading is my favorite hobby, hands down. Books are love to me. I am an avid collector, and paper books will always edge out e-books with me.
After reading Why Pray? by this author, I felt like I had an epiphany. If I am a believer in God and profess faith in Jesus, why wouldn't I pray intentionally for all that I need in this life? It was a no-brainer, it seems, but it really did hit me like a thundercloud. It was a life changing moment for me. Instead of worrying about everything, I made a point to pray about things. This has been a great blessing. So many weights have been lifted from my tired shoulders.
So when my church started reading Why Give?, I was excited to see what Mr. DeVries has to say about the concept of giving. Fundamentally, we tend to get things all wrong when it comes to giving in the Christian church. We think it's just preachers begging for money. That God wants to take what little we have. When in fact, giving is the essential nature of God. God gave us this earth to live on, he gave us natural resources and air to breathe, and he even gave up his Son for us. Giving tips everything on its axis. We tend to think that by hoarding resources, we can be secure, but God wants us to understand that we cannot outgive God. The more we give, whether it's material or emotional/time resources, the more we will be repaid. Because by giving, we bless ourselves and others.
Actually, the struggle inside with this was not the money aspect. I know God has been good to me, even though I am not a rich woman. He has provided for all my needs in amazing ways when I came to surrender my control issues about money and to trust Him to take care of me and to take Him at His word. He always provides my daily bread and rewards my tiny steps of faith in trusting Him to supply all my needs. What's harder is to give of myself. I am an introverted person and opening up is very hard for me. I can definitely be a time hoarder. I am selfish about myself. This book challenges me to be open and available to be give of myself for the good of God and others. And that can be as simple as praying for someone or taking the time to stop and listen and be available when someone needs my support. But most of all, the energy to do this doesn't come from me, but from the Holy Spirit of God, who lives in me as a believer in Jesus.
The stories in this book made me cry big time. I'm sappy like that. Reading about how Jesus changes lives in some of the most desperate of circumstances and how sharing the Gospel can have an eternal perspective was very profound. That sharing the love of God in Jesus is not about forcing my beliefs on someone, but giving them an opportunity to know the God of the universe in a personal way and how much that God loves and values them. I would read it a little on the way to work and school and tears would come to my eyes. It honestly fed my faith in a way that having an overflowing bank account never could.
As I was thankful for what Mr. DeVries teaches me based on Biblical principles in Why Pray, so I am thankful for what I've learned in Why Give? And when he issued a challenge for me to pray for God to provide funds for me to donate money, and God answered that prayer in an incredible way, I was given tangible evidence that God is the one who provides all I need to be a generous giver and to be created in His image in that regard.