In today’s blog, we explore faith and good works and the effortless nature of giving when we know and trust in God.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?
So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2: 14-16
The Fear that Keeps us from Giving
In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I address the very topic explored in James’ epistle above. I do not directly relate giving to faith, but in essence that is what we are talking about. We begin by exploring the first of the seven spiritual fears, there is not enough and how this fear causes us to gather to ourselves more than what we need through the compulsion of gluttony and how we fail to share our resources with others because of this fear. As we allow this fear to be healed within us, we find that we naturally and effortlessly share our resources with others through the virtue of generosity.
At the end of the day, it is FAITH that allows us to be healed of this wound so that we can freely and generously share what we have with those who have not. Generosity is our faith in action – and demonstrates how much we really believe in the truth of an abundant God. When we know that our needs are being abundantly met, then we are free to give to others. But here is the really cool thing….when we have faith and trust in God, we give to others even when it doesn’t seem as if we have enough to give….in other words, we don’t just give from our surplus, we give from what we might need to survive. This is true generosity.
Fake it til you Make it
Faith, however, is not always an easy thing to accomplish. Whether it is due to our upbringing, our education or religious indoctrinization or just our personal temperment, sometimes we just simply struggle to BELIEVE. When we don’t believe, generous giving might be a challenge. But, there is something really magical that happens when we are generous with our resources – regardless of our faith. There is a universal law of nature that when we give, we get back 100 fold. I know, it is a leap of faith to believe in this “law” but sometimes faking it (the belief part) and giving anyway has the miraculous effect of establishing within us the foundations of faith. We might call this, “Fake it til you make it.” In other words…..give to others when you see they are in need and see what happens in your own life. Take that $10.00 bill out of your pocket and give it to the homeless guy…just because….and regardless of whether he really needs it or not and whether or not he might use it to buy alcohol or drugs. Just give it…without condition, without expectation, without judgment……and see what happens. See if you don’t find something you have needed suddenly showing up in an amazing, wonderful and unexpected way. Give and see what comes back to you….and let this be the seeds of faith.
The Generosity Challenge
There are two fabulous resources I have found to help us in this journey toward being an effortlessly generous human beings. The first, of course, is my book, Authentic Freedom. 🙂 The second is a project called The 29 Day Giving Challenge. This project is based on the founder’s (Cami Walker) experience of giving and how it freed her from the symptoms of an MS flareup. Check out her website for details on the project and to get involved if you feel so called.
How Authentic Freedom Ministries is meeting this challenge
In the spirit of faith and generosity, I am pleased to share with you that Authentic Freedom Ministries is putting its resources (not just money), where its mouth is. What good is all the work we do at Authentic Freedom Ministries if we are not giving back? Believing in the abundance of God and wanting to freely and generously share our resources, we have recently entered into a community partnership arrangement with one of the local high schools. Thanks to this partnership, we will be one source of support for the needs of the student and teaching populations of Oshkosh North High School. With 47% of the student population qualifying for free and reduced lunches and with the continually decreasing resources available to teachers, Oshkosh North High School is in a state of great need. We will be providing financial, material, networking as well as volunteer support as needed and as we are able. We hope that this partnership becomes a model and a source of inspiration for other local businesses to follow.
How are you being called to share your gifts and resources in service to humankind?
Where does the fear there is not enough prevent you from giving?
How are you being invited to fake it til you make it?
Authentic Freedom Ministries