Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:11-14, Luke 6:38
Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? All things come from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
Jesus said: Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
In the summer of 1995, in a lull in the conflicts between the countries of the former Yugoslavia, I was privileged to be part of a group of eight guys driving two trucks of aid to two communities, one in Croatia and one in Bosnia. We were working with a Christian group and the aid was being distributed by local churches with whom we stayed and worked for a week or so.
The whole venture was one enormous learning experience, but one of the lasting memories I have is of the hospitality of these people in desperate need, who had so little and yet who shared with us what they had while we were there. These people received grace, but they had already learnt how to give grace, and to trust God for their needs in very difficult situations. To me they were living examples of the words of Jesus, ‘Give, and it will be given to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.’
Generosity is not measured in the amount that is given, but in the heart in which it is given. Although we had driven from the UK to Croatia and Bosnia with two truckloads of aid, I wonder whether they hadn’t given more to us in their simple hospitality than we gave to them.
In the words above from 1 Chronicles 29, the Israelites had understood that everything they had came through the grace of God and, with that understanding, they had given back to him.
Someone once said that when a person becomes a Christian, the last part of them to be converted is their wallet!
Let us be people who recognise God’s grace that gives to us so generously and say to him ‘Everything in heaven and on earth is yours’. Then, let us give with grace, and with converted wallets, saying, ‘All things come from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.’
Thank you Father for your abundant grace poured out on me.
Give me the grace to give you with a grateful and generous heart.
Give thanks with a grateful heart