God’s Great Paradox of Blessing and Generosity

Posted: April 30, 2014 in Blessing, build up, Christ, Community, compassion, Disciple, Discipleship, Focus, Generosity, Generous, great commission, Jesus, Kindness, Mentor, mentoring, Re-Focus, Relational

Generosity

Proverbs 11:24

 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

God is so incredibly creative!  So many times throughout the ages His ways seem so contradictory to how we think we should respond or act in any given situation.  Proverbs 11:24 contains one of the most amazing paradoxical mind shifts that once we grasp has the potential to change us from the inside out as well as greatly bless those in which we interact on a daily basis.

Furthermore, this is not a simple formula to gain God’s blessings.  If our heart is skewed and our thinking corrupt, we may attempt to gain His blessings by giving away our resources or time in hope of something in return, but God knows our motives.  Though we may receive some accolades or approval from those we share, these are merely human attempts at gratitude.  Don’t get me wrong, they may be genuine in their gratitude, but God knows your heart and His eternal blessing (and temporal blessing) does not come to a heart that is seeking something in return for their generosity.  God’s blessing comes through our love and generosity that flows out from a heart truly in love with God and wanting to pass along a bit of His love to those around us – not expecting anything in return!

You see, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to walk among us, to pay the debt for our sins by dying on a cross only to rise from the dead as a living sacrifice, truly in love with us and providing a way to spend eternity with Him and the Father, that way being through our faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord over our lives.  His word has been recorded and preserved to show us what love can look like and to give us His example of how to live and love.  He ascended to heaven to begin the building of His Kingdom through the people who will reciprocate that love.  I say all of this so that you will understand that we live for and serve an amazing God and when we grasp the weight of His love for us, our only response can be complete and utter submission to His will and call in our lives.

His first call is to forget about our own selfish desires and follow Him by making Him our Savior and Lord.

Luke 9:23-24 

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 

It’s easy to to make Jesus our Savior in our minds…after all, making the decision to believe in Jesus is something we can do in our thoughts.  We can keep that to ourselves and use the excuse that, “my faith is a personal faith and I need not share with anyone else other than God.”  Sounds spiritual enough, except that Jesus went public for us…why wouldn’t we go public for Him?  Also, following Jesus should never end at a belief alone.  His desire is that once we begin following Him, we would begin to look more like Him on a daily basis!  That means we love a little different, care a little more, and are much more generous with our time and resources!

Jesus wants not only to be our Savior, He wants us to acknowledge Him as Lord.  That means that we are no longer living for ourselves, we live for Him and listen to Him when He calls us.  His call on your life may be to ask a co-worker how they really are doing, or He may nudge you to give over and above to a need in your community.  He might call you to action in your community.  How many times have you witnessed a need and wondered why God doesn’t do something to alleviate the problem.  Like the song says, He did do something…He created you!

The thing is our faith is a cognitive response to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  Our action is a physical response to His amazing love.

James 2:14-17 

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

This verse has been confusing to so many people, yet it is really pretty simple.  Our faith in Jesus cannot be something we hold to ourselves.  If we truly believe what we say we believe about Jesus, it makes absolutely no sense for us to not share that amazing love with those around us.  When we come face to face with our Savior, and we make the decision to place our faith in Him, we can’t help but look and act differently.  Our action becomes an extension of who we are in Christ.  To not act is to not believe!

It’s time to act!  Jesus wants and expects us to be like Him…and He was not only loving, compassionate, zealous, passionate, powerful and perfect, He was also generous with His time and resources.  Our lives must be a reflection of His life!  When you truly begin living a generous life in your heart, mind and behaviors, God’s blessing will overwhelm you to even greater generosity!  We are His followers, His Church, and we represent Him to a lost and dying world.  Let’s represent Him in a way that draws people to Him, not runs people away from Him and His people!  Generosity draws people to the One who gave His life for each and every one of us – can’t get any more generous than that!

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