Thursday Reflection

13th August 2020

'reflecting on the warmth and generosity'

"it is better to give than to receive"
    - (Acts 20:35).

On reflecting on the warmth and generosity
experienced during my time on Mull,
the above verse from the book of Act came to mind
and I started thinking about the abundant generosity
of God and how we are call to do likewise.

Generosity is a wonderful part of God's nature;
and as we are made in His image,
to be truly ourselves
we need to be stepping into generosity more often
than we sometimes desire to.

Generosity is the habit of giving freely
without expecting anything in return.
Proverbs 11:25 says that

'a generous person will prosper.'

That means that they'll be successful and do really well.

So how does that work?

If we give freely, surely we'll be left with nothing
- or very little?
We can be generous or stingy with anything that we have.
With our money;
with our friendship; with our time; with our energy;
with our kindness; with our love;
with our forgiveness; with our possessions... the list goes on!

God made us so that he could be generous to us,
- even giving us his own Son -
He is generous to us so that we can be generous to others.
We are blessed, in order to be a blessing.

This generosity of God shines out
all the way through the Old Testament to its end
- just look at Malachi 3:10 for evidence of that.

10 Bring the whole tithe into the store house,
   that there may be food in my house.
   Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty,
  "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates
   of heaven and pour out so much blessing
   that there will not be room enough to store it.

It doesn't end there though.
It starts again in the New Testament, in Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus gives the ten-part blessing, on a mountaintop.
In effect he's re-writing the ten commandments!
This generosity and blessing continues throughout the New Testament.
As we might expect,
Jesus is our role model in this.
Paul quotes Jesus as saying

"it is better to give than to receive"
   - (Acts 20:35).

Do we believe that?
Have we experienced it?
It doesn't matter if we can't give a lot
because we haven't got a lot -
it's our heart attitude,
and the sacrifice that we make, that counts.

Jesus makes this really clear in Luke 21 verses 1-4
when he's at the temple observing the rich people
putting in their offering.
He compares their giving with the giving of a poor widow.
Jesus says that it was the widow who gave the most,
because she gave out of what she didn't have,
while the rich people gave out of great wealth,
still keeping lots for themselves.
She was the most generous.
Her sacrifice was the greatest.
The truth is, as Psalm 24:1 says,

"the earth is the Lord's and everything in it,
the world and all who live it".

God owns the lot.
It's not ours; it's all his.
We need to give all we have back to God
and then see what bits of time, energy, money, gifts
and so on he lends back to us.
All of this is so that we can be generous to others.

Remember, we'll never be able to out-give God.
Jesus himself said ;

"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)

Now there's a challenge.