When you give to a cause how does that make you feel? When you give to a person in need how does that make you feel? When you give to an organization how does that make you feel? Why do you give? What is it that motivates you to give? Do you give? How do you decide to give or not? How do you decide to who or how to give? Are you a cheerful giver?
Today’s devotional has an interesting spin on this when we read from Mother Theresa: “Giving cleans the heart and helps you get closer to God. You get so much back in return.“. Today’s devotional also captures brings another view into giving: “C.S. Lewis defined Christianity as ‘a kind of giving’. God has poured out his generosity to you in Jesus (John 3:16), and you are called to respond in faith and generosity to others. Each of the passages today is about blessings and curses. The key to blessing is generosity – ‘the righteous give generously’ (Psalm 37:21).“.
Are you a giver or a taker? Are you generous or greedy? Are you extending or shrinking? Are you doing good or doing evil? Are you being helpful or being hurtful? What is motivating how you are living? Do you realize the benefits?
Do you give out of compulsion? OR Are you generous all the time looking for opportunities to give?
Do you realize you can’t out give God? Do you realize that there is more than just stuff and that God is able to meet even those needs? Do you realize the blessings of giving? Do you realize the blessings of allowing God’s love and generosity to flow thru you? Don’t be a kink in the host that keeps the blessings from flowing thru! Look to see if you can walk open handed and be a conduit of generosity for the Lord!
Do you realize everyone around you has a need? Do you realize that God is able to use you if you are willing to be open and generous to work into the lives of the people around you? What has God given you that you are able to pass on to the people around you? Is it a financial need? Is it an emotional need? Is it a situational need? Is it a heart need? How will you allow God to work in and thru you?
Walk in a generous spirit! Look at how to be a giver rather than a taker! Be a blessing! Be a blessing even to those who try to do evil to you! Allow the love of God to flow thru you so that they may have the chance to hear and receive it! Remember Jonah? He knew that if he went that God would be able to work in and thru Him and turn the people of Nineveh around and so he hopped a boat going in the other direction! Don’t resist God! Be an ambassador for Him! Be an instrument of His! Be His arms extending and His hands touching and helping! God’s way is not our way because His ways are so much better and higher and stronger and right! So let’s not resist God and let’s do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish! Let’s not put others at risk like those on the boat Jonah was on! Let’s not be put in timeout while we can think about what would be the right thing to do and end up spending time inside a stinky fish while we come to the realization of what God wants us to do!
Let’s be generous to everyone! Let’s follow God’s lead and God’s example!
Be givers rather than takers! Live a life that can be blessed rather than cursed! Be a blessing to others rather than a pain or a curse!
Let’s join forces with God’s plan to bless and redeem! Let’s be instruments He can use for His purpose! Let’s be generous with our lives in ways that others will see our Father in Heaven and praise Him! Let’s reflect Him to the world around us!
Devotional, Psalm 37:21-31, Luke 6:12-36, Numbers 21:4-35, Numbers 22:1-20
1. Always be generous … Psalm 37:21-31
21The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; 22those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. 23The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 25I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. 26They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. 27Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. 28For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed the offspring of the wicked will perish. 29The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 30The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. 31The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. — from Psalm 37
2. Be generous to everyone … Luke 6:12-36
and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Blessings and Woes
17He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.
20Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
–from Luke 6
3. Be generous – like God … Numbers 21:4-22:20
4They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
6Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
The Journey to Moab
10The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth. 11Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab toward the sunrise. 12From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley. 13They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14That is why the Book of the Wars of the Lord says:
“…Zahab in Suphah and the ravines,
the Arnon 15and to the slopes of the ravines
that lead to the settlement of Ar
and lie along the border of Moab.”
16From there they continued on to Beer, the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”
17Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well!
Sing about it,
18about the well that the princes dug,
that the nobles of the people sank—
the nobles with scepters and staffs.”
Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland.
Defeat of Sihon and Og
21Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites:
22“Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.”
23But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought with Israel. 24Israel, however, put him to the sword and took over his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only as far as the Ammonites, because their border was fortified. 25Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements. 26Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.
27That is why the poets say:
“Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt;
let Sihon’s city be restored.
28“Fire went out from Heshbon,
a blaze from the city of Sihon.
It consumed Ar of Moab,
the citizens of Arnon’s heights.
29Woe to you, Moab!
You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!
He has given up his sons as fugitives
and his daughters as captives
to Sihon king of the Amorites.
30“But we have overthrown them;
Heshbon’s dominion has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.
We have demolished them as far as Nophah,
which extends to Medeba.”
31So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.
32After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.
34The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.”
35So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.
–from Numbers 21
1Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.
2Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.
4The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”
So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:
“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”
7The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
8“Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.
9God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’ ”
12But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”
13The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
14So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16They came to Balaam and said:
“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”
18But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.”
20That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”
–from Numbers 22