July 15, 2017

The most valuable asset

The subject of today’s devotional seems to be ‘giving generously’ but it really is about faith. My sister taught me a tremendous truth: not only is it impossible to out-give God, but if I give something away that I need, God will give it back to me. This means that I’m trusting Him.

As for the tithe, it is mentioned in the New Testament only when Jesus told the Pharisees that they were giving their ten percent but neglected to be just and merciful (see Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:41) His point was that they fell short in of the righteousness that God requires. He used the OT law to do it, which is its purpose — to show all of us that we fall short.

After Jesus died and rose from the dead, the message is how the grace of God applies to our shortfall. For those who trust Him, He changes lives. Tight-fisted souls who only look out for themselves are transformed into people who love and trust Him with everything. We see others in need and give, without worry about how we will manage without whatever we gave because our God takes care of us. All we have is His anyway; we are just stewards of it.

“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.” (2 Corinthians 8:1–10)

My dear sister is a giver. She knows that God is her source. She has often donated money that had been allocated for her own necessities, yet within a day or so, something unexpected happens and that money comes back to her, often beyond the amount she gave. Not that God requires this generosity, but He certainly honors it. His plan is to take care of everyone, often using another one of His stewards to do it.

“For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, ‘Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.’” (2 Corinthians 8:12–15)

The Bible says Jesus was rich and become poor for our sakes. Today’s devotional reading says, “He was betrayed, mocked and beaten. He was crucified. God made his Son to be sin for us! There he was robbed of all the joy of heaven and the comfort of his Father’s presence. His dying bed was a malefactor’s cross. His resting place was a borrowed tomb. What was the reason for such humiliation?” He did it that through that poverty we might be rich!

Jesus, I can scarcely imagine what it was like for You to become poor, but I do know that riches You make available for the necessities of life, yet You supply so much more. You have made me rich in Your love and grace. Your abundant supply is overwhelming. I have peace that passes understanding, joy that stays with me even in trials, and love for others that I never expected. One of the best resources is the deep contentment You produce in my heart. You became poor so I could be rich. You are my most valuable asset because You take care of all my needs.

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