Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul

DSC_0052

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”Matthew 6:24-27

Bible-study:

dark-eyed slate-colored Junco

dark-eyed slate-colored Junco

This morning – early – my Saturday small-group Bible-study met at WFPC to continued our conversation on the subject of “giving.”

One point we circled back to frequently was how deeply grateful we all are for the lives we are privileged to lead. Then, as we continued to talk, sharing openly and honestly both as friends and disciples of Jesus, it occurred to me how closely generosity is related to gratitude.

The more we appreciate the blessings that define our lives here (as children of God, as husbands to amazing women, as members of loving families, as participants in a vibrant faith community, as residents of a super-cool small town in a beautiful state, as men who may not be wealthy but certainly are rich), the more natural it is – the more “normal” it becomes – to be liberal in our giving, and generous with what we have come to realize was never really ours in the first place.

Children of the King:

DSC_0041

sparrows

If we live as “Children of the King”, then two factors are at play. One – we own absolutely nothing ourselves, because it all belongs to the King (I’m not using the word “king” to suggest that God is exclusively masculine, but because it has the right tone). Two – our job, as emissaries and ambassadors, is to steward, to share, and to testify to the King’s goodness via the way that we connect ordinary people with more and more of the King’s abundance.

If I am ungrateful, puffed up, full with pride, entitled, greedy for more, and/or judgmental toward those who are not so privileged – then generosity is unlikely.

The intentional practice of gratitude equips us spiritually for generosity.

DSC_0049My conclusion, then, is that the best way to encourage people to share is not to persuade them via guilt, browbeating, shame, or any kind of arm-twisting… but instead to immerse ourselves in conversations about blessings and gratitude, and to invite the less generous into a more personal relationship with Jesus – to the extent that, first, they give everything they are, and everything they have back to God.

A Prayerful Thought:

Everything that I am, everything that I have, everything that I long for, everything that I hope for, I offer it all to you, Lord; in the name of the one who became nothing so that I might have access to everything, so that I might – in turn – lay it all down. Amen – DEREK

(gallery – a few of the feathered friends who helped with today’s lesson…)

 

5 thoughts on “the gratitude generosity equation

  1. lduvall48 says:

    God is good
    I was given notice that my job would be ending on March 6. At first angry then fearful. God has reminded me to live one day at a time. I thought of the sparrow and trusting in his care for me.
    Thank you for your afirmation of His word.

    Like

    1. derekmaul says:

      Prayers for this time of transition. May God’s grace work it’s way into every part of your journey

      Like

  2. I like what you had to say today. I stumble a lot with this idea of giving. I don’t have enough money lately to tithe my ten percent, but then I am told that I’m robbing God and I’m cutting myself off from God’s blessings. My tithing was so minimal last year that my pastor brought it up to me. I acknowledge that money is my Goliath, and I vow to take this giant on in the name of Jesus. There is much to be gained by conquering money problems. Thank you for your post.

    Like

    1. derekmaul says:

      Thanks!
      Tomorrow’s post will include my prayer for the offering in church today… It might be relevant.
      Peace – and God’s generous grace – Derek

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: