Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
I don’t know about you, but I love giving presents. Whether it’s Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, or Veterans Day. It doesn’t matter, I look forward to giving. It excites me. It energizes me.
And because there aren’t enough holidays to give presents, I invent some additional ones to fill out the calendar. For me, most of them surround my wife, Mary Ann. I love to celebrate the anniversaries of our first date and our first kiss. Yes, they are on different dates.
Paul tells the Galatian Christian community that they’re to celebrate and give to the people that are giving them instruction in God’s word. And this giving, this sharing, is to be filled with good things. Good stuff.
We’re to give the very best that we can. It’s not supposed to give what’s left over. What’s used up. What’s broken. We’re to give in response to how good God has been to us. That makes it exciting to give because God has been so great and gracious to us.
We’re commanded to be presently and actively cultivating, communicating, and contributing with the people that are presently teaching us. So, what do these three things look like?
Cultivating – We are to be taking God’s word and doing everything possible to be growing in our faith through the instruction we receive. This isn’t just sitting there with our arms folded, taking up space in a pew or chair. No, we have work to do. The teacher has a responsibility before the Lord to be faithful to God and his word. Isn’t that what we expect from them? Isn’t that why we help pay their salary so they can study and prepare God’s message each and every week? The listener also has a responsibility before the Lord. They are to receive it, take it in, digest it, use it for growth in Christ, and then do it. In the same way we expect the instructor to be prepared, we should do everything we can, expecting change and growth in our own spiritual lives.
Communicating – this is not forwarding a bunch of emails or videos with kittens or sweet and syrupy-sounding stuff. Remember, we’re just one person and so is the instructor. We might be sending one email or text, but so are all the other people listening. We need to carefully consider what we send and how much we’re sending. Only send the very best. Think about what we’re communicating when we speak or send stuff to the one that God is using to instruct us. Is it beneficial, encouraging, and uplifting? Will it bring them closer to Christ? Or will it be discouraging and deflating? When was the last time you sent a thank you card to the one instructing you? Or just called up to tell them that you appreciated them? Or to ask if there was anything that you could do for them? If there’s a problem that needs to be discussed, we should never dump or demand from them. It always, always, always be done with humility and sincerity. We approach it with an attitude of gentle honesty.
Contributing – Since they have poured their time, energy, talent, and lives into our instruction, we need to respond in the same way. We need to respond, giving to the Lord and them sacrificially.Our contributing to those who instruct us is never to be from our excess or what’s left over at the end of the month. It’s to be off the top. To be the very best that we have to give.Yes, many times our giving is through contributions to the church. And that’s a good thing. But there are other ways that we need to be contributing to those who instruct us. Here are five concrete ways to contribute in addition to money.
Show Up – be there consistently.
Step Up – be willing to make and keep commitments.
Be Up – be positive, encouraging, and uplifting.
Grow Up – be maturing, growing in Christ.
Shut Up – be silent about gossip and negative things.
In these negative days, when it’s easy to be pessimistic and destructive, we can be a refreshing breeze, a breath of fresh air to those who lead and instruct us spiritually. We can offer them a cup of cool water and be a refreshing friend that encourages them along the way.
So, what’s stopping us from becoming that kind of person? What’s in the way of our changing into a person that shares the good stuff? There’s only one thing standing in our way – us.
Today’s the day to change course and share the good stuff.