Monday, February 25, 2013

You Get What You Give

The biblical principle of sowing and reaping is straight-forward, in theory. When you give or “sow” generously you will receive or “reap” generously. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But how does this principle apply to pursuing our dreams? And how does it apply to using our dreams to inspire others?

  When I first realized my dream was to pursue a full time ministry of speaking and writing, I felt very alone. It’s not the most common dream, and it's also not something you can just take a university course to learn. I often wished I knew someone who was already living my dream so that I could get advice and wisdom. Eventually I did find someone who was already successfully doing what I felt called to do. Connecting with her was what inspired me to actively pursue my dream full-time and gave me confidence that it really was possible to attain my goals. If she could do it, why couldn’t I?

  After experiencing the benefit of that relationship, I wanted to provide support and encouragement for others too. I began to pray and ask God to put people in my path who wanted to speak and write full-time that I could be an encouragement to, and that’s exactly what He did. At first I found it tough to share the knowledge, ideas, and contacts I’d spent so much time and effort building on my own, but then I read these words in 2 Corinthians 9:12–13: “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.”

 This verse says that by sharing generously with other dreamers around us, God is given all the glory, and we are sowing into the growth of His kingdom rather that our own. When we are generous with our dreams and use them to inspire others, our actions both show God gratitude and cause others to turn to Him! And isn't that what we're really living for? So our lives draw others closer to Christ?

  What dream has God given you, and how can you help and bless others who have the same dream? In whom could you be investing your time, knowledge and resources? Maybe you could simply encourage someone younger than you to believe God has a unique dream for their life. Or maybe you could find someone who is pursing the same goal as you and, instead of viewing that person as competition, work together to lift each other up. Our culture tells us that in order to get higher we need to push others down, but God’s word says the opposite. The more we give, the more we’ll receive from Him! The more we honor others and place others needs before our own, the more we’ll see our dreams move forward. When we share our time, our wisdom, and our opportunities with others, instead of putting us behind, God will actually move us ahead.

 This is exactly what Jesus did with His disciples. He spent much of His three years of active ministry pouring into the lives of twelve young men. Jesus saw the bigger picture and knew that soon He’d be gone and someone else would need to carry His vision forward. He also promised the disciples they would do and see even greater things that He had (check out John 14:12). Jesus wanted to equip the disciples so they could continue the work He began. Who can you pour into this way? How can you multiply your efforts by joining with others who share your dreams and passions?

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