Posts Tagged ‘Give’


Moses-pulled-his-hair-outMoses was called to lead a bunch of Elder Brother Types across the wilderness desert into the Promised Land. All the pictures of Moses show him with a full head of hair, but I know he must have pulled it all out by the time he passed away. Elder Brother Types do not take leadership easily. Even after being slaves for hundreds of years, they expressed their opinions quite readily. Murmur was their middle name.

manna from heavenGod provided them manna from heaven. They murmured about this after awhile. I imagine most people would. After all, we love variety. How many ways can you prepare manna? I love to read the account of the people’s first discovery of manna:

And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’ ” And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. Exodus 16:14-18

The Bible reveals something about Elder Brother’s here. Do you know how to spot Elder Brother Types? By how much manna they gathered. All the EBT’s (Elderly Brother Types) gathered extra. They were the ones racing around to gather as much as they could. It was almost a contest to them.

manna from GodSomething unusual happened with the manna, however. The ones who gathered more had nothing left over. The people who gathered little never ran out. Paul even refers to this phenomena in 2 Corinthians 8:14, here in the context of equality and providing for others.

What does this reveal about EBT’s?

manna spoiled by wormsFirst, if they gathered too much, whatever they did not eat was spoiled with worms. It was no good the next day. EBT’s must learn to be content with what they have on a DAILY basis. We are to depend upon our Father EACH DAY for our daily bread!

Second, to avoid the stench of rotting manna, you gave away any left over manna to those who (for whatever reason) were not able to gather enough.

This lesson is important for Elder Brother’s. Don’t be so selfish that you hoard only for yourself. If you must gather a lot because of your competitive nature, do so for the purpose of GIVING TO OTHERS. This will get you closer to your younger brothers as well as your Father, because each day you come to Him for your basic needs.

Elder Brother Types tend to depend upon themselves and what they can provide for themselves. God wants EBT’s to see that all self effort is stinking worm food. If you only gather for yourself it will end up rotten, and you will barely have enough. But if you gather for the needs of others, you will never lack, you will know God’s Provision.

Elder Brothers get angry when the work of their hands is destroyed or wasted. If we learn to depend upon our Father, we will never be angry, for we will have plenty to give to others. God’s Chief Delight is to Give!

Father: Forgive me for selfishly hoarding your gifts. Teach me to depend daily upon your provisions. Teach me the importance of giving to the needs of others, that my heart might be drawn to my younger brothers.

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The-Prodigal-God We are starting “The Prodigal God” series at church tomorrow. I still remember hearing a preacher from Great Britain proclaim “God’s Chief Delight is to Give” as he spoke from this parable in chapel at Baptist Bible College. I have had to remind myself of that constantly in life, especially when things were looking hopeless. Timothy Keller does a fantastic job of laying the groundwork for our study, so much so that I am going to let him tell it tomorrow by letting him preach the first sermon. He opens up this parable in a way that I had not seen before, particularly in regards to the relationship between the elder brother and the brother who went away.

Jim and John to SchoolAs I watched and listened I was struck in my heart because I am the elder brother. I was the first born, I was the responsible one, I was the one who never got in trouble. My younger brother John, meanwhile, was always the one in trouble, always the one who seemed to have more fun because he was always pushing the limits. Smugly I laughed to myself when he got in trouble, yet inwardly I was jealous of his superior looks, athletic ability and success with the girls. John was the one who brought my dad the greatest joy and greatest heartache. John excelled in sports while I was merely a debater. My parents always went to watch John but never went to watch me debate. Dad and John fought to the point of blows, yet a mere word was spoken and I obeyed. Still, it seemed that John got all the attention.

John and Jim off to collegeJohn tried to do right at times. He even followed me to Bible College my third year. He only succeeded with the girls, and not with the grades. He was kicked out and celebrated by TEE-PEEing the entire campus. What a sight! He was always the one to break the rules and have the most fun. I got married and went to work for dad, and started having a family. John moved away to Arizona.

While I continued to be the dutiful elder brother, John made a mess of his life. He married and divorced five times (to only two different women). He got more and more into the drugs he had started experimenting with in high school. Marijuana led to cocaine which led to Meth and who know what else. John did it all. He got to where he couldn’t keep a job. He called constantly for money. His two boys would have nothing to do with him. Mom and Dad didn’t know what to do. They had spent thousands of dollars on rehab and psychiatric care, but nothing ever worked. They went to their grave with hearts heavy with grief over John.

Handsome John TompkinsJohn was the consummate con-man, fooling everyone but himself. I found him on the streets of Phoenix in 2004. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could this be the brother I had always admired? He still amazes me, because he is surviving in a way I never could. But he doesn’t have to live this way. I got him a car so he could at least lock his possessions up (there is a lot of theft among the homeless). It lasted about 3 1/2 years. My brother Tim bought him another car that he lives in now.

John TompkinsThe point of all this – am I still being the selfish elder brother? John needs major dental work now. He is working at a regular labor type job. A friend says he is off drugs. AM I willing to be the elder brother who spares no expense to get his younger brother back to the Father? How much am I willing to spend to get John back to God? Am I willing to forgive the way our Prodigal God forgives? I’m sure the elder brother was muttering, “Why give him your ring, he will just run off and pawn it to pay for more drugs!” John did that to me many times. He has done his best to burn every bridge with every brother, sister, aunt, uncle cousin and friend he has.

What is the answer? What would John’s TRUE “Elder Brother(Jesus)” do? In His Word He tells us to forgive 490 times, to give if we have the ability to give, and to love him as I love myself. BUT THIS IS CRAZINESS TO ME, HIS ELDER BROTHER. I can’t possibly be the elder brother God wants me to be! I am so practical and reliable. I know nothing of the extravagant giving of my Prodigal God!

This series is for me, the elder brother. May God touch my heart and enlarge my view of how GIVING and FORGIVING God wants me to be! INCREASE MY FAITH!