September 11, Wednesday

Devotional Thought for Today

“Cultivating Generosity” – Part 2

Genesis 2:8-9, 15-18

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil . . . 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” . . . 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

The single, biggest challenge to cultivating generosity in our lives is the mindset that we do not have enough. When we feel like we do not have enough, that we need more, we start clenching our fists and holding things tightly. Fear creeps in and we try to control the situation. Have you ever felt that way before? I imagine most of us have felt something like that at some point.

If that is our mindset, when someone invites us to give in some way, like how Paul invited the Corinthians to give in our passage from yesterday, we get anxious and defensive. We can quickly justify why now is not the right time. But when our mindset is “not now, later”, “later” will never come. We will always find a reason to delay generosity. A podcast I listened to recently called this a “scarcity-mindset.”

However, God does not desire us to live under the impression of scarcity! In today’s passage, we see the generosity of God in action. He planted a garden for man and then gave to him many and various trees that were “pleasant to the sight” and “good for food.” (v.9) Yes, he did tell him not to eat from one of those trees, but that was probably one tree out of hundreds. God was giving these first humans so much! There was an abundance. And God even showed his generosity by creating another human, specifically Eve. God created life and community. He lavished upon humankind everything they needed. 

The contrarian in us is probably thinking, “Well, that was before the Fall; post-Fall, we do not have this abundance.” Yes, things are different after the Fall. But still, through the whole Bible, we see God promising to His people that if we trust in Him, He will provide for us; we will always have enough. Circumstances might not always be great, but we can trust that God will take care of us. Jesus taught us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). God’s desire is for us to return to that Eden mindset, where we recognize God as the generous giver who gives us all we need. In order to have that mindset, we need to trust God. 

The mindset that we do not have enough is not a mindset based on circumstances; it’s a mindset based on a lack of trust in our generous God. Our generous God is inviting us into a life of generosity where we can learn to trust him day by day, knowing that He really is the One who will take care of us. So, the next time you think to yourself, “I don’t have enough,” remind yourself that our Father has and will always give us more than enough.

Prayer: Father, thank You for being our generous God. May I never feel lacking in any way. Though circumstances may not always go the way I hope, may I know that You are always in control and You will always provide for me. Help me to trust you more, starting today.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 7


Lunch Break Study  

Read Matthew 6:31-34:  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Questions to Consider

  1. According to this passage, why should we not be anxious?
  2. What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness?
  3. How can you seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness today?

Notes

  1. Our “heavenly Father knows that [we] need” to be eat and to be clothed. He knows there are things we need to live. But He is good and lovingly provides them for us. The passage also says to not be anxious about tomorrow but to just focus on one day at a time, trusting that God is with us today. 
  2. In the immediate context, this means living out the Sermon on the Mount, which is Jesus’s teaching on what life in the kingdom is all about. At the heart of seeking the Kingdom of God is to live as though God is King. And if God is King, not to mention a good King, He can be trusted. We seek the Kingdom of God by trusting in our good King and living according to His ways.
  3. Take time to reflect on how you can do this today!

Evening Reflection

Take time this evening to surrender any way you are being tight-fisted with something. In surrender, ask God for help to trust Him more so that you can live a generous life.

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