For an increasing number of us, financial troubles are precariously close to home. With businesses and financial institutions failing daily, it’s no wonder so many worry that their own livelihoods or homes are at risk.
In such times of trouble and uncertainty it’s natural to worry about your own family foremost. If until recently you’ve been supporting your church or various charities, now, with gloomy future prospects, perhaps you question whether such giving makes sound financial sense.
The answer is that if you want God’s blessing, then giving is still definitely in! “God loves a cheerful giver”1 is one of the pillars of God’s financial plan. In fact, God’s way to plenty is to give it away.
Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.
—Attributed to John Wesley (1703–1791)
There is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most in life—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained by giving them to someone else.
—Peyton Conway March (1864–1955)
“Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”If there was anyone who knew all about that, it was probably Mother Teresa. After having lived among the poorest of the poor in India for nearly 30 years (and she would continue to do so for nearly 20 more), she was awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She began her acceptance speech with the words, “Life is life.” She went on to explain that all human beings are special and of great worth, no matter who they are, and that only when we have learned to respect that fact can we begin to help them improve their lives.
A popular song that made a big impression on me as a teenager seemed to be a prayer. I say “seemed” because the song didn’t mention God or prayer. It also didn’t sound like any religious music I’d ever heard. The lyrics were deceptively simple—big truths about character and success in life expressed humbly and winsomely. I wanted to be like that, I remember thinking. It was the best sermon I’d ever heard.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone would simply do what Jesus said to do—love our neighbors as ourselves?1 When people don’t treat others with much love, they’re going to have problems—and they do! It can safely be said that the root of all of the evils in the world today is a lack of love. But there’s a simple solution, even in such a confused and highly complicated society as that of the world today: love. If we love God, we can love and respect each other. We can then follow His rules of life, liberty, and the possession of happiness, and all will be well and happy in Him.
It’s been said that people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. How true!
Most people tend to be a little selfish. It’s human nature to “look out for number one,” to put your own needs and desires before the needs of others. It’s easy enough to get caught up in your own life and problems, but when you do that, you’re creating a bigger problem by closing yourself off to many wonderful things in life and many wonderful people.
Almost anyone’s list of “People Who Have Influenced My Life” includes at least one teacher. What kind of teachers are these?—The kind who use their talents to help develop their students’ talents, the kind who strive to shape not just the mind but the heart. For me, it was a teacher we students came to affectionately call Auntie Marina.
At the time, my family was living in Japan, where my parents were involved in administrative work for our international Christian fellowship. Auntie Marina was my first- and second-grade teacher.
Life’s many problems and worrieshave pulled you away from Me. Your self-doubt and fear of failure have weakened your faith that I hear your prayers and am concerned and want to help you. But I’m telling you now that these doubts and the discouragement and depression they lead to are not from Me. They are straight from the enemy of your soul, the Devil. He wants to beat you down and destroy your happiness, but I want to rescue you and lift you up and make you happier than you ever dreamed possible. I want to give you a new start.
If we have real love, we won’t face a needy situation without doing something about it. We won’t just pass by the poor man on the road to Jericho. We will take action like the Samaritan did.
Many people today, when faced with the suffering of others, say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, how sad!” But compassion must be put into action. That’s the difference between pity and compassion: Pity just feels sorry; compassion does something about it.