Thursday, August 27, 2009

Devotional - The Benefits Of Generosity

Good morning my friends. It is another glorious day. Are you prepared to receive answers to your prayers today? We have a very faithful King who desires to encourage you with answered prayer today. Don't be afraid to ask. We are continuing with 2 Corinthians 9.

The Spirit has stalled me in this thought on generosity so there must be something here for us that we must learn. As Paul is encouraging the Corinthians in this act of giving to the church of Jerusalem he says this:

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. vs. 12-13

Of course this is our great desire, to have people praising God because of our actions. So often it is the other way around, people deny God because of our actions. That is the funny thing about being generous with a person, they will not curse you for it and may even thank God for it. That is our great desire that God would be praised. But there are more benefits to generosity:

And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. vs. 14

You know, there is nothing wrong with gaining friends through generosity. It is a natural reaction for someone to feel friendly toward you when you are generous with them. Gaining friends allows us to influence them for Jesus. It is hard for anyone to remain the same when they include a passionate Christian in their circle of friends.

Do you remember the parable Jesus told of the shrewd manager? He was about to be fired so he called in various businessmen who owed money to his boss. When he met with them individually he took what they owed and cut it in half. He did this to gain their friendship so he could get a job with one of them. At the end of this parable Jesus said:

"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." vs. 8-9

If people of this world can influence others with their wealth then why can't we, through generosity, also gain friends? Of course our desire for friends is for their benefit and not our own. We gain friends so that we may witness of the love of Jesus. They see our lives, they see our actions, they taste of the fruit of the Spirit, they see Jesus in us and desire him.

It is not just with the lost we sow our seeds of generosity, people of faith often need a reminder of the love of Christ just as much as the lost. Your life, poured out as a drink offering through generosity will touch and influence hundreds of people, if not thousands, to praise God. Is there a greater reward for the servants of Jesus? So today, let us not be found sowing sparingly so that we reap sparingly. Instead let us sow generously so that what we reap will also be a generous portion. And may the Father receive all the glory, as Jesus desired.

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