Monday, February 20
Day 15: Heart-Filled Generosity
What does the apostle Paul have in common with Lionel Messi, Taylor Swift, Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, and Oprah Winfrey? Their good looks? Probably not. Their household names? No. What they have in common is that all of them spent significant time raising money (and giving their own money) to the poor.
Paul’s reasons were different though. The poor Christians in the church were cut off from their usual help from local synagogues because they had converted to Christianity. Because of their conversion, the poor were even more socially and economically isolated. Their conditions were furthered worsened due to a famine that resulted in the lack of food. The remarkable response to Paul’s plea for the poor revealed how generous the early churches were. Everyone was feeling the effects of the famine. It wasn’t easy for them to give. But they did anyway because generosity is at the core of the gospel. Because God gave His Son, they could give to others even if it was of great sacrifice to do so.
Have you ever said something like, “God, if you just bless me with such-and-such amount financially, then I will give”? Or “If I only had this, then I would …”? 2 Corinthians 8-9 reveals that generosity springs from a heart of gratitude. It is never easy to give at first. But we cannot assume we will begin to be generous once we have more to give. If we don’t give when we have little, we won’t give when we have more.
Spend time in prayer, following the Upward, Inward, Outward, Upward format.
Upward: Who God is; What God has done, is doing, will do
Inward: Who you are; How you live
Outward: Intercession for others
“God, you gave us your all when you sent Jesus to die for our salvation. Forgive me my stinginess toward others and wanting to keep my possessions to myself. This heart does not reflect your heart of generosity. I truly want to be released from the bondage my possessions have on me. Help me to give more away. Create in me a generous heart. Show us at Pathway how we can live out the generosity you have poured into us.”
Upward: Thanksgiving and Worship
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