I know I posted once before about what it means to give yourself to your spouse in marriage. But I was thinking about it again recently and did a little studying on the word give. I think it applies to all of our relationships: with God, with our spouse, with those we are called to serve, etc.
I skimmed through the Topical Guide under the word "give," and these 4 scriptures pretty much leaped off the page at me:
1. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
-2 Corinthians 9:6-8
He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly. It's funny that so often we expect to receive more without giving more. At least I do anyway. It's easy to think of all the things that want or that I would like other people to change or do better. It isn't as easy to think of how I can give more and love more. As much as I would like to think that I am not a selfish person, I think selfishness and self-centered-ness are the default settings for the natural man.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give. I think often it's better not to give than to give with ulterior motives or expectations. We should first "cleanse the inner vessel" so to speak, and make sure our motives are loving and pure and not manipulative or selfish.
God is able to make all grace abount...that ye...may about to every good work. Remember: God is a partner in an eternal marriage, and he has an interest in all of our relationships! His grace can make our relationships abundant if we give cheerfully.
2. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor. He covetech greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
[T]he slothful...refuse to labor. ... but the righteous giveth. It's interesting that giving is the antedote to slothfulness. Why? Giving requires work! And it takes our minds away from ourselves. Slothfulness here is related to covetousness--wanting something we aren't willing to work and sacrifice and give for.
The righteous giveth and spareth not. Righteous giving means we don't hold anything back. We shouldn't reserve any part of ourselves.
3. Freely have ye received, freely give.
Highlight: In any relationship, we should remember both what the other person(s) has given and also what Christ has given for us. More reason not to hold back or hold out.
4. Give, and it shall be given unto you; ...for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured unto you again.
Highlight: This principle of giving is a part of human nature! People respond to fairness, kindness, generosity and love, while demands and accusations put them on the defensive. Sometimes we just have to trust that our giving will come back around to us.