Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Grateful Heart

2 Corinthians 9:10-13

"Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else."

This passage is set in the midst of an entire chapter on giving with a heart that pleases God. I have read through it many times, but today I was particularly drawn to verses 10-13 because they correlate with a deep work God has been doing in my own heart in recent years. Even more so in the past couple of months. So I decided to dig deeper, read commentary and thank God all the more for loving me enough not to leave me as the somewhat selfish woman I once was.

Reading these verses I am reminded that all I have and ever will have, comes from God. But as of late, He's taught me that not everything He gives to me is for me. My time is not my own. My talents are not for my own good or pleasure. And my resources are not only meant to meet my needs, but the needs of others. Sometimes I am called to be the means by which God passes provision along. I guess that makes me the middle-man, so to speak.

God gives regularly to meet my needs. Other times, He gives with an accompanying impression on my heart that I am to pass it on to someone in need. Being able and desiring to be obedient, be it a little gift or an extravagant one, now overwhelms my heart with blessing. Having been in great need and on the receiving end of generous giving was a humbling place to be. My own experience made me ever so grateful for God's goodness and renewed my faith in Him. God often uses His children to bless others, encourage them, renew their hope and give them a reason to thank Him.

I believe God blessed me with the gift of being desperate in order to show me personally what "liberal sharing" (as some versions call it) looks like, so that my heart would change at the deepest levels. Change to the point that out of my own gratitude I would learn to share liberally too. He has brought me to a place where my heart is filled to overflowing with more joy when shopping for someone in need than shopping for myself. I have always found it fun to shop for someone's birthday or to bless with a little gift just because, but this is different... this is indescribable joy in giving liberally to meet the need of another who is walking in a similar place of desperation, so that they too will be filled with gratitude to God and prayerfully have opportunity to one day do the same.

The Lord is teaching me to share so that no one He speaks to my heart about would be destitute. I can't solve the problems of the world. There is desperation everywhere. But I can walk in obedience to the one's God tells me to help so their faith is renewed, they know that God has not forgotten them and they will have reason to thank Him. Prayerfully this cycle I have been blessed to be a part of will produce a pay-it-forward kind of change. My life was changed because of the generosity of others when I was in need. Hopefully when God chooses to use me, the life of another will be changed in such a way that they too will be moved to do the same. God blesses so that we might be a blessing, in His name.

Thank You Lord for loving me enough to change me and use me as You see fit. I am ever so grateful... In Jesus' name, amen.

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