1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. — Leviticus 24:1 NLT
Consider the olive. The tree grows in stony soil where other trees cannot grow. A new tree is started with a seed or a cutting and then transplanted. It grows for seven years before it has any berries on it and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches maturity. In Old Testament times, the fruit was harvested by shaking and beating the tree with a reed or a stick. This injures the tree so much that it will only produce fruit every other year. Once it starts to produce fruit, it will continue to produce fruit for centuries. After the fruit is harvested, it is pressed to get the oil from it. This oil was then used to keep the light in the Tabernacle lamps burning continually. Jesus said that we are now the light of the world. For us to be the pure light that we should be, we must go through much of the same process as the olive. God transplants us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light and we start on a journey. It will take some time for us to mature and produce fruit. We need to be shaken at times to get us out of our comfort zones. We need to be disciplined at times to get us back on the straight and narrow path. We have sinful, fleshly desires and those desires are not going to go away without a fight. So, God allows us to be pressed down until there is nothing left but a heart with pure motives. Then and only then are we able to be the light to the world and deliver it from the darkness of sin.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.– 2 Cor. 4:8-10 NLT
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.–2 Corinthians 9:6-9 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
We have just gone through the Christmas season. A season well known for giving gifts. How many of those gifts were given to family and friends who had no need for anything more than they already had? It is a good tradition to continue to show appreciation for those close to us. But, as Christians, we should feel a deep desire to help those around us that are less fortunate. It is an extension of God’s love that He showed to us when He sent Jesus as our Savior. We were poor, wretched, and blind, but He gave His all for us. We should not limit our giving to a season. Those around us need more than 2 meals a year. In God’s mathematics, giving does not subtract from our supply, in the end it actually increases our abundance.
38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. Luke 6:38 (NLT)