This month's newspaper column....
The story is told of Alfred Nobel that he was reading the newspaper one day and received quite a shock. Nobel was a Swedish chemist who made millions of dollars from inventing and selling dynamite. The headline in the 1888 Newspaper read: “The Merchant of Death is Dead;” it was his obituary! The newspaper, which had confused him with his brother Ludvig who had died in France, described a person who had gotten rich by helping people kill each other.
After reading his own obituary, Alfred Nobel realized that the legacy of his life was not what he had hoped and he set out to make a change. He became a generous person sharing his resources to make a positive difference in the world. You probably recognize the name from the Nobel Prizes (like the Nobel Peace Prize), which Nobel created with a $9 million investment to honor individuals of many professions whose work and efforts have benefited humanity. Alfred Nobel learned what it meant to become a generous person.
God blesses you and me so that we can be a blessing to others. He desires us to be generous people, and when we are, our joy and happiness overflows. Jesus said in Luke 6:36, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV) There is a spiritual principle here: When you give, you will be blessed!! When you give, God will grant you not only what you need, but it will overflow.
You and I have been blessed with time, talents, and treasure. We have been blessed with freedom, education, intellectual abilities, friendships, material possessions, skills, and wisdom. The mistake we often make is when we use these things just for ourselves. God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. When we hoard it all to ourselves, we miss the blessing. The gift actually becomes a burden!! God desires us to be generous with all that we possess – “pipelines of sharing” with others. Rather than experiencing joy and happiness by giving, too many of us become stressed out and worked out by debt and the care of “our” material possessions.
Learn to give. Learn to become a generous person. For then you will see that the real gift from God to us is NOT the gift, but what happens when we give the gift. Generosity: it’s the true gift from God.