Generous Life Devotional - Jan. 21, 2014

Be Cautious of Greed

2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also

reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will

also reap generously.

7 Each man should give what he has decided in his

heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion,

for God loves a cheerful giver.

Christians tend to like rules. They like to know exactly what is expected in any given situation. Should I reach out to help this person? How much should I give? How long should I pray? What specific things should I do every day to please God?

These aren’t bad questions, not at all. In fact, often these desires spring from our desire to please God in every way, yet not knowing exactly how. The problem with our love of rules and specifics is that the Bible doesn’t always give us specifics. The Bible, in many cases, tells us to do something; but leaves it to us to figure out how.

Take the command of “loving your neighbor as yourself.” This is a powerful and important teaching of Jesus; but what does that look like? How do we do that exactly? Is it opening doors for people? Is it calling them up to see how they are? Is it inviting people over for dinner? Is it going to another country to help? The Scriptures don’t specifically tell us. Christians are meant to study Scripture, pray, search their hearts, and then do what they can in a good conscience.

2 Corinthians 9 speaks about giving. In it Paul says that we should give not reluctantly or because someone is forcing us to. Rather, we are supposed to decide in our heart what to do and give cheerfully. God does not want our generosity to be out of guilt. He wants generosity motivated by love. Sometimes you might not have much; but you can still be generous with a cheerful heart. Sometimes you might have a lot in terms of resources, God calls you likewise to be generous with a cheerful heart. The amount of time or treasure you are generous with is not God’s main point. For God, numbers are not the issue. God wants His children first to be generous from the heart, and then the specifics can work themselves out after that.

Today’s Generosity Challenge:

One simple question: When does emotion dictate your giving? There’s not really a right or wrong answer here; just describe it in writing here at http://GenerousLife.net/Day15. What have you learned?

For more from Generous Life, visit generouslife.net, and listen to Generous Life Radio at OnePlace.com!

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