Saturday, January 25, 2014

Giving, the Paradox to Riches (Deut 15:7-10)

Giving the paradox to riches

7 “But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need…If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.

The Christian faith is full of paradoxes; some say it is the backward wisdom of God. A.W. Tozer displayed this truth beautifully when he said,

A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen;
Talks familiarly every day to someone he cannot see;
Expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another;
Empties himself in order to be full;
Admits he is wrong so he can be declared right;
Goes down in order to get up;
Is strongest when he is weakest;
Richest when he is poorest; and happiest when he feels the worst. He dies so he can live; forsakes in order to have;
Gives away so he can keep;
He fears God but is not afraid of Him
Sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge.

Our text zooms in on the paradox of riches, realized when one gives generously to those in need. God through Moses reminds His people about the kind of heart to display for the poor and those in need.

The reminder is simple, “be generous and lend them whatever they need”—this is the practice for all who God calls His own. They are  a people reflecting generous hearts, giving to those in need, because they serve a God who has freely given them all they ever needed (Lam 3:23, Ps 89:1).

We too who hail the Christian identity, stand reminded to shine the grace of generosity to all. Not only with our money but with whatever others need from us (vs 8). We are employed to give of our time to those who need the comfort of our presence; to partage our ideas to those who might need a hand up instead of a handout. We are employed to share our stories with those who may glean inspiration from them. Thinking also of giving generously, the greatest gift we have ever received, which is salvation—eternal life through faith in Christ (Rom 6:23).

If we fail to extend this generous hand to the poor—even the poor in spirit, God says it is sin (Vs 8). This failure exposes our distrust in God’s ability to provide all that we need (Gen 22:14). We underestimate His ability to bless us because of our generosity (Vs 10). We miss the opportunity to be light in our world, and to show God’s character of compassion to those who need it most. Most of all we miss the privilege of joining the angels in their holy party as one of God's prodigal children find their way home (Luke 15:7).

Being generous with our finances, our expertise and our time, takes faith—faith in the one we seek to obey. It takes courage, because sometimes such generosity demands an expensive sacrifice, a sacrifice costing even our lives. Selfless giving will take perseverance in times when you grow weary of always being the giver (Gal 6:9). 
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith—Gal 6:9-10

All in all, a generous heart requires God’s grace working in and through us—“For it is God who causes us both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). So praying for an endowment of the grace of generosity is wise for us all.

In light of all this, keep giving, for in this lies great blessings of riches—material and immaterial. As the scriptures say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”, this paradox of the Christian faith always proves true.

As the missionary Jim Elliot once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot loose". So make someone smile this week, as you intentionally extend a hand and a heart of generous giving, because herein burst true comfort for the soul—for the giver and receiver
"Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money which will soon be gone.  Tell them to use their money to do good. They should... give happily to those in need, always ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven — it is the only safe investment for eternity!" 1 Tim. 6:17-19

Until next time, Read, Share and be Comforted. 

My Testimony