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Give Generously. Love Extravagently. Serve Faithfully.

by Gina Welborn

Last night, hubby and I went to an anniversary party. The media minister of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, was being honored for twenty-five years of service. The Victory Hour is television's the longest running religious broadcast. (55 years and counting!)

Imagine twenty-five years at one job.

In the business community, that's no biggie. But serving the same ministry position for the same church for that long . . . we're talking rarity. What's the average lifespan of a pastor at a church? Two years? Five? Certainly not twenty-five.

Our media minister didn't start out in the ministry, though. Didn't even go to seminary. He was working at a non-church-related production company, when the pastor of the church asked him to fill in because the guy who had been doing it left. So Mark agree. For six months. Once those passed, he agreed to stick around for another six months. Next thing he knew, he was a full-time employee.

During Mark's anniversary party, someone said, "God prepares you for the things He's preparing you for."

That got me thinking. What would God be doing in me to prepare me for?

A month or so ago, a lovely Australian writer, Theresa Fuller, decided not to renew her RWA-FHL membership. I e-mailed her privately to tell her I was sorry the group didn't meet her needs. See, Theresa wasn't sure if she wanted to write young adult stories for the ABA market or CBA one. We chatted about the difference between writing with a biblical world-view and writing an inspirational. Eventually I admitted I couldn't give her the help she truly needed because I don't read YA fantasy novels, but I could help connect her with writers who could. And I did.

Theresa sent me a sweet note this week thanking me for helping her join Romance Divas, an online writer's forum (my first writer family). She's in the mentorship program. Yay!!! She said she felt like she was "finally emerging out of a deep dark hole." Why? Because she wanted to learn to write better, she wanted answers, but she wasn't finding anyone willing to give her a hand up.

She didn't think I could understand what she'd felt like.

I did understand. Because I was Theresa once . . . until someone gave me a hand out of that deep dark hole I was in, and then another person did, and then another. I still see God bringing people in my life to give me that needed hand up. How deep is this hole?

Listen, how can I accept someone's help and then not be willing to help another person in return?

Think about the people over the years that God has brought into your life to bless you. Now when was the last time you helped someone for no other reason than because someone helped you once? In fact, when was the last time you helped someone and it cost you, whether that be time, money, emotions, etc. It's far easier to help when it doesn't cost us anything. The true testiment of a giving heart is to give at a cost . . . or at least to give knowing it will gain you nothing in return.

I haven't yet found a verse of scripture where Jesus said, "Give as long as it's convenient."
God prepares us for the things He's preparing us for.

I challenge you this week to join with me in looking for opportunities to do something nice for someone.

Give generously.
Love extravagently.
Serve faithfully.
No matter the cost.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11

~*~
GINA WELBORN worked in news radio writing copy until she took up writing romances. She is a 2009 ACFW Genesis historical romance finalist and a 2007 RWA Golden Heart® inspirational finalist. This Oklahoma-raised girl now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her youth-pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, and a Sharpador Retriever who doesn’t retrieve much of anything. Her first novella, “Sugarplum Hearts,” part of the HIGHLAND CROSSINGS anthology, will be released by Barbour in January 2012.

Comments

  1. I used to give to everyone willy-nilly. It wasn't very effective and it wore me out. Now I try to give strategically as God leads. That doesn't mean it's easy or convenient. Sometimes it's hard and challenging, but it's always fruitful.

    Also, the writing aspect of this post reminded me of what I put on facebook yesterday: After two years studying writing "craft" and one studying the writing "business," I finally feel like God is bringing me full circle back to the "art" of writing. Ahhh. Bliss.

    And of course, God has used different people at each of these stages. Currently, I am being very blessed by the ladies at Novel Matters, Anne Lamott, and a blog called "The Sunshine Abbey" about art as worship and prayer.

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  2. Thanks, Gina. What is God preparing us for? Great question... I'm going to ask Him during worship today!!

    I like how your willingness to help, translated into what your friend needed! When you feel His hand taking the wheel, it's awesome!

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  3. Dina, you brought up a great point about knowing when you need to say no. Just because a need exists doesn't mean we're the one to meet it.

    Sometimes we rush to give aid, and cheat God of being the one to solve the problem.

    And I hear you about the "art" of writing. The last two CBA romances I've read (Marta Perry's Murder in Plain Sight and Laurie Alice Eakes's Lady in the Mist) reminded me to enjoy the pleasure of reading. I think that's because their "art" of writing was so well done that I didn't think about craft.

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  4. Cheryl, when you get home from church, let us know what God said to ya. :-)

    I'm currently in RushHour. Hubby is preaching.

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  5. Great post this morning, Gina. I appreciate the discussion about discerning when to say no, and when to say yes even when the effort will be inconvenient, difficult, or costly.

    Just the other day my husband and I said "yes" to something we didn't want to do, but discerned that we should. Despite our initial attitudes, we were so blessed by the experience. Yet one more example of God's grace in my life!

    Thanks, Gina.

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  6. Susie, the worst is when I know I should do something but just don't want to do it. Even when I know I'm usually blessed in the doing.

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  7. ...Because in my flesh dwells no good thing or at least one selfish thing. My first reaction is not to give of my time at all. I got to a point where I thought if I don't want to do it, it's probably from God. And then, I'd do it and be blessed.

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