Week 2- Five Practices of Fruitful Christians: Extravagant Generosity
Have you noticed that generous people are blessed generously? It is a principle Paul teaches in his letter to Corinthians. But it not just there. We see it in the Old Testament, too. Here are several passages to ponder.
Prayer: Gracious and Generous God, you have first given so freely to us with life and family and friends. But most of all I thank you for the gift of grace through Jesus Christ. Help me to be gracious and generous today in Jesus’ name. Amen.
MONDAY- 2 Corinthians 9:1-15
The Apostle Paul was collecting a mission offering from the gentile churches in Greece and Turkey to benefit the church in Jerusalem. The Macedonians who were poor went over the top with their generosity. The Corinthians who were not poor worried Paul. Would they respond like the Macedonians? So Paul is teaching them about generosity and grace. What stands out to you in this passage? What kind of attitude does a Christian develop to be a generous and gracious Christian?
TUESDAY – Malachi 3:7-12
The people of Judah were struggling. They had returned from exile, rebuilt the Temple and the city; but the excitement had worn off. They were growing complacent, and they were “robbing God.” What does it mean to “rob God?” What did the prophet teach them to do? What was the promise of God if they did follow through? Does this promise still apply to today?
WEDNESDAY – Genesis 14:17-24
This is where the concept of a tithe began. Abram gives 10% of the loot of battle to the priest of God, Melchizedek. Why would Abram do such a thing? If we read chapters 13 & 14, we see that Abram and his nephew, Lot, part ways. Then Lot gets caught up in a war among kings, he and his family are captured. When Abram learns of this, we rounds up his servants and rescues Lot. He is so grateful to get his nephew and the family back, that he expresses his thanksgiving by giving a tenth to the priest of God. How do you express thanksgiving to God for the blessings you receive?
THURSDAY- 1 Chronicles 16:1-3
The ark had been captured by the hated Philistines. For years, it remained in seclusion until David became King. He resolved to bring it back to the capitol city, Jerusalem. You can read part of the story in chapters 13-15. When the ark was returned, David celebrated. He offered burnt offerings to God in thanksgiving for the return of the sacred box. Then he did something rare. He distributed to every Israelite, men and women, a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake. Likely, David could afford it. He was king. But it is unlike most of the kings of that day to be so generous. Why was David generous? Because God had blessed him. How did he respond to God’s generosity? He became generous to others. How do you respond to God’s blessings for you?
FRIDAY – Acts 5:1-11
Odd and tragic story. At the end of chapter 4 we see Joseph, nicknamed Barnabas, sold property and gave it to the disciples. What is different about Ananias and Sapphira? Were they obligated to give any of the proceeds to the apostles? No. But the liked the acclaim Barnabas received. They wanted to be thought of being generous, without being generous. And it killed them to be exposed. Are you generous? How would anyone know it?
SATURDAY- Acts 11:27-30
In this passage we see the disciples determine to give to the relief effort as they had means.God blesses each of us differently.God invites us to use those gifts generously.How are you using the gifts you have received?