Jonathan's Perspective  

Nov 10

Rich In Every Way

Blessed to be a blessing.  This is the essential nature of being the people of God.  God gives to us with an open hand and generous heart, expecting that we will reflect his generosity.  After reminding the Corinthians that we reap what we sow, Paul tells them that God wants to multiply their generosity and every good thing they do. 

'Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion...' (II Cor 10-11)

God's economy is an expanding economy, fueled by generosity of resources and spirit.  The more we give, the more we discover that we have to give because God supplies us out of his vast treasury.  As someone once said, 'You can't out-give God.'  The more we sow into the kingdom of God, the greater the kingdom reward we reap so that we can bless others.  And around, and around it goes with increasing joy.

Have you ever sat by a clear stream watching it flow by? The main current moves so freely and fresh.  But then you see where water is getting caught up in an eddy.  The eddy is filled with cups, foam, and trash.  Our lives are like the river.  If we try to hold onto God's financial blessings for ourselves, we collect the trash of greed, miserliness, self-protection, and pride.  It festers in our hearts and we can become putrid like the eddy.  However, if we allow God's financial blessings - including financial - to flow through us to the work of the church and those in need, we find a clear conscience, joy, and expanding relationships.  The reality is that we discover that we are always replenished as God's blessings flow through our lives.

Giving is a matter of the heart as much as money.  Paul wrote, 'Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.' (2 Cor 9:7) The 'heart' in the Hebrew understanding is the seat of the will, volition.  Therefore, Paul is telling us to make a well-considered decision to give.  We don't tithe on accident or an emotional whim.  We do so as part of a deliberate response to God's calling.  Once we have decided to give, we give willingly.  When we give willingly, we find the joy of generosity well up within us.  Just as God loves a cheerful giver, God loves to form cheerful hearts by training them in generosity.  When we give we give expectantly for the many ways that God is going to break into the world around us and through us.  Life becomes a great adventure.

 

One of the only times God encourages people to test him is in tithing.  I guess God felt like so few people took him up on his promise to bless them to be a blessing.  God wants us to know that he will give us even more as we sow generously into the Kingdom of God. 

Mal 3:10 'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. "Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it"'

As we wind up the 2017 stewardship campaign, I want to thank everyone for committing to give to the Lord's work through Munholland UMC.  If you have not yet handed in your pledge card, or would like to change it, I encourage you to consider God's amazing promise to open the floodgates of heaven to 'make you rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.'

Blessed to be a blessing,

Jonathan

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