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Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Central Place of Generosity

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (Matthew 7:11 NLT). 

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. (Matthew 25:35 NLT). 

What care do you take in giving gifts at Christmastime: (a) Most anything will do, within a certain price range? (b) Only gifts from a want list will do? (c) Used gifts or hand-me-downs are just fine? (d) Only new items will do, preferably deluxe editions? (e) Most any gift covering will do? (f) Each gift must be carefully wrapped, with ribbons, bows and cute tags? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1331).

The Spirit however, produces in human life fruits such as these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control—and no law exists against any of them. Those who belong to Christ have crucified their old nature with all that it loved and lusted for. If our lives are centred in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25 PHILLIPS). 

An important fruit of the Spirit is generosity. In fact, it is hard to see how any other fruit of the Spirit could be realized without it. One of the most powerful of all self-esteem builders is when one engages in creative generosity. Therefore, we all desire and earnestly WANT to give gifts to those we love. It need not be tangible gifts, but can include the gifts of encouragement, moral support, affirmation, and humility. From my own experience one of the most appreciated gifts in awkward or stressful social moments is the invaluable gift of humor.

A principal element of humanity’s dysfunction and confounded history is the restrictions placed upon perception. We decline to include enemies and even strangers within the list of those to whom we are to show empathy, generosity, and kindness. We tightly circle our wagons and strictly limit those to whom we throw open doors of generosity. We deeply fear that our own resources will be depleted if we do otherwise. In fact just the opposite is true as full abundance is dependent upon creative generosity. Until we fully appreciate that we are all in this together we will continue to atrophy separately.

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