Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

A day rarely goes by that I don’t see a homeless person begging for money.

It’s usually at a busy intersection of a frontage road and a six-lane road near the church building.

I’ve noticed that 99 percent of drivers ignore the one begging.

I’ve also noticed that when a driver does hand something to the begger, it is usually some coins.

I’ve resisted giving cash because of how so many homeless people end up buying what harms the body, not helps it.

When I’ve thought ahead, though, I’ve prepared bags of food and water to give the homeless person.

It’s much better to provide a hearty meal than it is some cash that can be used for drugs or booze.

I’ve been convicted lately by my lack of preparedness for meeting the hunger need of homeless people.

I’ve handed out dozens of “Blessing Bags” in the past but have not been diligent lately to have some on-hand in my car.

After a shopping trip this week, my church office now has enough “Blessing Bag” provisions to make up 20 food-for-a-day bags.

I’ll be asking a volunteer to assemble the bags so that I and others can start helping homeless people to have some food.

Ultimately, this is an act of worship toward God.

Here’s what I mean:

“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors Him.” (Proverbs 14:31)

When we help the poor, we’re serving as God’s hands of kindness.

And we’re showing God that we’re not living just to please ourselves.

Listen, sharing with the needy is a great form of worship.

Let’s all do so more often.

It’s the honorable thing to do.

As always, I love you

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One of the most compelling and memorable lessons taught in the Bible can be attributed to an elderly, impoverished widow.

It’s the account recorded in Mark 12:41-44. Jesus was watching a bunch of religious fat cats making large offerings at the temple. Jesus didn’t comment immediately about their gifts, though.

Instead, He saw the poor widow put all of her monetary wealth — two small coins — into the collection box and then He was prompted to speak.

“Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I tell you the truth this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

Listen, one of the signs of spiritual growth is the willingness to give generously to the Lord’s work. Jesus taught in Matthew 23 that believers should tithe — give at least 10 percent of their gross income. But what this widow demonstrated was not a 10 percent gift, but instead a 100 percent gift.

What amazing faith!

Though this “all she had gift” is not to be seen as the minimum standard for faithful giving, it still serves as an excellent example for us of proper motives.

I have not yet demonstrated the faith of this widow.

I have need for more spiritual growth in my trust of God to sustain me as I continue growing in giving beyond the tithe.

Perhaps you do, too.

Please learn from Professor Pauper, the widow of Mark 12.

Her instruction is sure and already confirmed as pleasing Christ.

Give more generously.

God will sustain you just as He surely blessed this widow in the days after her faith-filled donation.

As always, I love you

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Sometimes, people learn about our character through subtle observation.

For example, if we believe that God has given us more than we need, we’ll leave some for others in whatever setting we find ourselves.

This principle of abundance shows up in how we tip restaurant servers, how we negotiate when buying things from relatives or friends, how we show grace toward someone who has offended us or even with how we make sure that others have a dessert at church dinners before we blindly add the last piece to the slice already on our dessert plate.

It’s not cool to have two pieces of dessert when somebody else is standing at the table, wondering where all the dessert went.

The life of faith is a life of sharing.

Actually, it’s more than that.

It’s making sure that others are provided for ahead of ourselves.

God’s voice is really the only compass that we can trust in this matter of knowing when and how to keep some for ourselves and when to simply give what we have to others.

I pray that you’ll ask Him for wisdom in this arena when it comes to your home life, your work life, your church life or your school life.

Here’s the passage from the One-Year Bible that prompted this devotion:

When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:9-10)

God was calling the Hebrews away from selfishness and into benevolent generosity. Yes, the people could take ALL the crops from the land they owned and had worked. But that didn’t mean that they should.

The harvest was a gift from God, obviously, and so God had every right to direct that some of the harvest be left for others as a form of Old Testament welfare.

For the soft-hearted person who cared about obeying God and serving others, NOT harvesting the field edges or corners was a visible way to display faith at the same time as serving others.

Listen, don’t be the person who squeezes and twists and coerces and manipulates others in order to get every penny out of the deal, whether it be in the restaurant or in the workplace or in the real estate deal or in the estate-settlement discussions following a parent’s death or in those difficult conversations when somebody is telling us they’re sorry.

Leave something behind for others.

Your faith will be on display in a positive way, if you do.

As always, I love you

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