Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 37 - Better Givers

Read Luke 12:24-34

I think there is something wonderful about God.  He just loves to share. Everything we have and our very lives are not our own; ultimately they are God’s.  But he allows us to live and enjoy all that is his.  Having possessions is not wrong.  God owns everything, but he has within him the incredible capacity to share what he has with all of us.  He owns it; it’s all his, but he allows us to enjoy, use and consume his world. What would it be like if he didn’t do this?  What would it be like if God was not a giver?  What would it be like if all he ever did was consume rather than give and share?  Actually the very thought is frightening and brings to mind images of slavery. Fortunately for us God is a giver.  That was never more evident than in the ultimate demonstration of Jesus who gave his life for us.  He demonstrated his incredible capacity to give by sacrificing his life.  If Christ was a giver, shouldn’t his followers demonstrate this same capacity?  Shouldn’t we also display an incredible capacity to hold on loosely and share?  I have said it before; here is a paradox of the Christian faith – you are never fully alive until you are dead.  Full life is not experienced until we put off some of our selfish inclinations and put on the character of the creator.  God is a giver.  It’s part of his character. Furthermore, it is how we were created to be. But how do we give?  How do we reflect his character and become fully alive?  Rick Warren outlines some simple characteristics and guidelines in giving like God:

Remember it all belongs to God.  Our harvest comes from God, who even gave us the seeds to grow the crop: “He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God” (2 Corinthians 9:10, The Message).

Give with a cheerful heart.  God doesn’t want your possessions; he wants your heart (Matthew 6:21).  What motivates your giving?  Paul wrote, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7b).

Never give under pressure.  God wants you to “make up your own mind what you will give.”  This will “protect you against sob stories and arm twisting” (2 Corinthians 9:7, The Message).  If you feel pressured to give, don’t.  God wants you to carefully consider your generosity, and to then give voluntarily.

You really do have more to share than you realize.  And the Bible promises, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).  Learn to live generously.  You’ll be richer for it in the end.   (Warren, Rick, Better Together, 134,135)

No comments: