Tag Archives: Generosity

The Blessing of Generosity

Today is the first day of the Advent season. This is the season leading up to Christmas when we look forward to the coming of the Christ child into the world.

This year my church put together an Advent devotional and I was asked to contribute two entries. I previously shared on of my contributions, and I decided for the start of Advent to share the other. The scripture readings this devotional article is based on were chosen by our pastor. I encourage you to click on the links to read them before reading my thoughts on how they are connected.

Scripture References: Amos 6:1-8; II Cor. 8:1-15

Devotion

The prophet Amos warned those who had plenty but failed to care for those in need. Though they enjoyed the lap of luxury, they would “be among the first to go into exile” because of their complacency.

By contrast, Paul writes of the Macedonian church that lived in extreme poverty and yet exhibited a generosity towards others that was beyond their own ability to give. He then urges the Corinthian church (and each of us), “as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

It is easy when we are blessed with material possessions to spend all our time enjoying them and forget about those in extreme need. Perhaps the reason the Macedonians were so generous is because they never forgot what it was like to be in physical need and had compassion on those in similar circumstances. As a result they were blessed with spiritual wealth and the grace of our Lord.

God is honored by our desire to give and to help those in need; He is honored even more by the fulfillment of that desire. He does not expect us to give beyond our ability, but to give out of the grace we have known in Christ. The spiritual wealth we gain through a closer walk with Jesus and sharing with others is better than all the gold and jewels in all the earth.

Thought to ponder/challenge

We must guard ourselves that we not allow wealth and material possessions to be our comfort, forgetting those in poverty. We must remember to always give out of the grace we have been freely given.

Prayer

Our gracious Lord Jesus, help us to not grow complacent because of the wealth you have blessed us with, but well up within us a desire to be generous and share your material and spiritual gifts with those in need.

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Sending a Clear Message

Our pastor started a new sermon series this morning titled “Mixed Messages.” It’s a five-week series on how, as Christians, we sometimes send mixed messages to the world about our Christian faith. We some send mixed messages about Jesus.

The specific topic this morning was money, always a sensitive topic with most people. We really don’t like talking about money or about giving it away. We don’t like to be scrutinized in this area of our lives, because we all tend to like our own stuff and our own money just a little bit too much.

And that’s just the point. As Christians, we should have the extravagant and generous mind and attitude of Christ regarding our money. It isn’t really our money anyway – it is a gift from God – it really all belongs to Him anyway.

Pastor Dave encouraged us to send a clear message about who Christ is by the way we give to those in need and in how we use the money that God has blessed us with. We need to send a clear message so that non-believers will know who Christ truly is and what the Christian faith is all about.

As I pondered writing this post, I decided to reread the passages in Matthew that I read last week as part of my Bible reading schedule, because I remembered I was reading the sermon on the mount. Not really wanting to write about money and mixed messages, I was trying to find something else to write on.

At first I didn’t find anything that spoke to me, so I read the section that I should have read either yesterday or this morning but I skipped my reading time both day. Here is the very next passage on my reading schedule, Matthew 6:19-34 (NLT):

Teaching about Money and Possessions

 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Okay, so I get the message loud and clear! I need to pay more attention to what message I am sending to others in this area. Is it a clear message of extravagance and generosity in the image of Christ? Or do my selfish actions belie my words of faith? Where is my treasure stored?

I think these are questions we all need to ask ourselves periodically. We are human and are going to mess up sometimes; we are going to sometimes send the wrong message. But if we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and to correct us, to help us send a clear message, then perhaps the world will hear the truth of Christ loud and clear.

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Music Monday Extra – The Generous Mr. Lovewell

I thought I would share just one more song from MercyMe’s CD The Generous Mr. Lovewell. It’s the title song and is a great up-beat song that is bound to make you feel good.

This song always reminds me of both my husband and my son. They both have a generous and caring heart. My husband is the kind of guy who won’t park in the close parking spot at church because “some older person might come later and they should get that spot so they don’t have to walk so far.” My son has, since he was small, loved to serve people, to get you a glass of water or open the door for you.

Do you know any generous Mr. Lovewell’s in your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. And now, enjoy this great song.

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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Music, postaday2011