Monday, November 3, 2014

Jasper - Jewel of Great Value (Excerpt)

image used under royalty free license, © Werner Dieterich/Westend61/Corbis
We're going to take a quick detour from the great content from the Exponential West 2014 conference.  Our devotional book for November went live on Amazon on Friday.  It's Jasper - Jewel of Great Value, available for the Kindle, click the title to go buy it.  And Today's post is one of the entries.

The image to the right shows someone giving alms to a homeless person.  And, indeed, our passage talks about alms. But the subject isn't really about giving. Instead, it's the heart behind the giving.  Anyone can give, not everyone allows themselves to be a cheerful giver.

Matthew 6:1-4 (KJV) Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

How often have we turned on the TV news and seen a report of some wealthy individual giving an amount larger than we make in five years to some worthy (or maybe not so worthy) cause?  Then we discover the donation is less than 1/10 of 1% of their wealth?  That turns out not to be very awe inspiring, but it gets the person’s name mentioned in a lot of places, as well as a tax break.  The donation turns out to be sized more for publicity than a demonstration of the heart.

Luke 21:2-4 (KJV) And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.  And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

We all know that passage in Luke.  The woman is highlighted by Jesus.  When we look at it from Jesus’ perspective, it’s not the proportion of her offering, but that it cost her and it was without fanfare.  And, perhaps, we can imagine her wishing she had more to give.  God’s view of a proper offering or donation is that it’s given without thought to self enhancement and without much thought to the cost to the giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Prayer thoughts for day 11:  We need to learn to give without thought to ourselves.  We want to ask God to make us a cheerful giver, concerned more with results than what it will do for our reputation, what it will cost.  We need our thoughts focused on God and others.

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