Jesus makes it clear in his teaching that giving is incredibly important. When we think of giving, we think about giving the hungry a meal or loaning our leaf rake to a friend. We think about handing an item of worth over to a person who needs it, but that isn’t the only type of giving that Jesus needs us to do.
Some of us may already be thinking well, yes, Jesus also wants me to give my encouragement, my love, my kindness, my time, my hard work, my best effort. . . To that I say, yes, absolutely, those are also things that we are meant to give, but what else?
We need to give our consideration. We need to give our analytical thinking. We need to give up our own point of view when we read the Bible so that we are able to think about what it is saying, not what we already believe about the subject.
In other words, we need to give up our thoughts for a time and consider what we have not considered before. It’s the only way to discover the real truth. In situations outside of reading the Bible, it’s the only way to test different principles and ideas to see if they are from God or from a lie.
Here’s a good side note: God’s principles and ideas offer success that lasts—they are truth, and truth succeeds—but lies quickly fail. Many huge fads have come from theories or principles that are not true, and many of us have believed them without testing them first.
On the flip side of the coin, many of us have heard the complete God spoken truth, but we decided not to pay attention to it at all, not to consider it as something worth thinking about because it didn’t sound like anything that we would want to choose to understand.
In Isaiah 27:11, the Lord makes it clear that we choose to understand. If we do not choose to understand, we are choosing to be stubborn—we are choosing to close our minds and our ears. Don’t be confused. A person who tries to understand but still hasn’t figured it out yet is different from a person who refuses to listen or think about what was said.
To truly think about something that was said, we need to want to understand it, and to do that we need to look past our own understanding of life. We need to look at what was said as plainly as we can see it. We shouldn’t add or subtract words. We shouldn’t slip in our own beliefs to make what was said more acceptable to our own point of view. We need to look at the exact meaning of the words used and draw an understanding from them, which, at times, especially in sections of the Bible, can be difficult.
Using analytical methods of thinking takes a lot of energy and effort, but once we get good at it, we will be able to build a better, truer understanding of how this world operates by the will of our Maker who, by the way, is the creator and builder of all brilliance, intelligence, and genius. And because God is the creator of genius, he can give it to whomever he chooses when he chooses. Jesus can and will teach us in ways that improves our level of thinking to that of something that a genius would have.
When we choose to understand, when we open up our minds and allow God to get in there and teach us, that’s when we will begin to finally live fully in the Life of Jesus Christ, but if we keep God out of our minds, if we think that we know it all and refuse to see a different point of view other than our own, then we are robbing ourselves of the gifts that God wants to give us.
Many of us don’t understand how a preacher can stand up on the pulpit and tell us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace when all day long we are stressed out and ready to snap. Well, that’s when we need to say in prayer Jesus, my Lord, I am going to be open to what you want to teach me, so, please, let’s begin our first class. Teach me peace.
In all areas of our lives, we need to be open to the Lord’s teaching. It doesn’t matter what we are doing, we can pray to Jesus Christ to help us in our effort, but we have to be open to his, potentially, ridiculous answers or methods. The ways of God are generally different than the ways of humans who tend to be creatures of habit.
Don’t be afraid to ask God about anything that we are interested in or invested in: Ask him how we can open up our schedule to join a desired group or class, such as aircraft intervention. Ask him how we can understand truth better. Ask him how to paint like Rembrandt or compose like Mozart, and if we are serious about it, after years of practice and hard work, he might let us get to be as good as them. Ask him how to fix a part on a car, or how to serve him better. Ask him why the earth is round instead of square, or how to bake a cake of gold. Ask him who has all of the vehicle registration forms, or why isn’t their more peace on earth. Ask what color the stars are, or where we can find wild tulips. Ask him if we will ever get to see the moon set over the water. Ask how to better understand the opposite sex, or how, when, and where to look for someone to take in marriage.
Whatever is good in our lives, ask him about it, and don’t just pray once. As we are working, pray to him every step of the way. Pray to him especially if we are stuck on a problem, because it never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is that we don’t get an answer or we get a no, but the best thing that can happen is that Jesus shows us how to solve the problem—the best thing that can happen is that Jesus brings us up to live in our full potential of brilliance, intelligence, and genius.