They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, (ESV)
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (NIV)
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. (NLT)
Merry Christmas, friends! May this be a week filled with renewed hope, salvific joy, grateful reflection, and generous hearts.
We have memorized 48 verses together this year! Wow, is that amazing or what? Forty-eight new ways to share truth, cultivate reflection, fight off sin, and encourage those around us with the word of God! Thank you for being a part of this project and for writing God’s word on your heart with us this year! It’s been incredible to dive into the miraculous Story of Redemption and better understand how to fight sin and cultivate virtues in our lives. As we reflect on an amazing year, we are also so excited about what’s to come in 2024. We will begin the year learning how to stand firm by putting on the Full Armor of God.
It’s our last devo of 2023, so grab a peppermint latte, find a place to sit, and enter into a time of abiding and discovery with us.
There is a need so great that no man could give a gift sufficient enough to fill it. It’s a gift that only the Giver and Creator of all things could. What is that gift? It’s Jesus–His humble birth, perfect life, sacrificial death, and miraculous resurrection. He demonstrates His love for us by giving His own Son to die in our place while we were yet sinners. Once we have received Him, we have peace in the midst of every circumstance, having our gaze set on the promise of eternity that is to come. This gift must be received, and when it is, a great miracle occurs: a sinful, prideful, and rebellious heart finds a grace so sweet and a gift so great that it surrenders itself and all things to the Giver.
The next gift to the believer is the blessing to surrender old ways, to release our grasp on material things, and to give of ourselves to those in need. Since we have received the most extraordinary gift through Christ, there now exists another most profound blessing. It is to share this gift with the world and witness a brother, mother, co-worker, neighbor, or friend come to know our Savior. It is to see another person hope for the same eternal reward we’ve received and to be once again reminded ourselves of the sweetness of the Gospel we have.
This week's verse tells us (the rich in the world) to instead be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share. I think those of us who find ourselves in any position of comfort should consider this week's verse. It seems the more comfortable (or rich) we are, the more challenging it is for us to surrender. That’s why, throughout scripture, we are called to give generously, to ask only for our daily bread, to keep watch, to not put our hope in earthly things, and to trust God for all things. Even if you aren’t experiencing worldly comforts, this verse still has an important call on your life.
Generosity of Time
For many of us, especially those experiencing large amounts of worldly comfort and wealth, it can seem far simpler to give of our money than of our time. However, it is important to remember that generosity is not just about monthly contributions to a church or charitable causes; it's also about being willing to offer time and resources without reservation when God places someone in need before us, even if we haven't allocated time for it in our schedules. Time is precious and a telling indicator of our values; we often find ourselves in a hurry, constantly busy, and searching for ways to save time. So, how do we practice generosity with our time in a fast-paced world? One answer lies in being sacrificial and generous with our schedules.
When we make time for acts of kindness, service, and love, we will find ourselves storing up treasures of eternal significance. It is also important to remember that the ultimate measure of our wealth is not measured by the size of our bank accounts or the amount of our possessions. Instead, our greatest wealth is the richness of the Gospel that produces in us good works and love we share with others. This week, let's embrace opportunities to give of our time and resources, just as Christ gave Himself to us! In doing this, we will discover a different kind of wealth that endures longer than material possessions.
This Christmas week especially, we have an amazing opportunity to reflect on the gift of Jesus, who surrendered Himself through becoming a man and, ultimately, through His death on the cross. When we come face to face with the reality of this Good News, our response must be open hands and a surrender of all things. Since, through Jesus, all things have been given to us, we now can freely give all things in our lives, both material and immaterial, knowing that all we have pales in comparison to the free gift of salvation we have in Christ.
Written by Blake Stanley
Challenge: Don’t just be generous with gift giving this week, but be generous with your time and give of it sacrificially. Maybe schedule a time to share a meal with the homeless, invite your neighbor over for dinner, visit a nursing home, or serve at a non-profit or shelter with your family.