September 12, Thursday

Devotional Thought for Today

“Cultivating Generosity – Part 3

Matthew 25:20-21, 29

And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’ . . . 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Today’s passage is from the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). If you have not read the entire parable before, I would encourage you to do so before reading this. 

The past few days we have been exploring the idea of generosity. Being generous is tied to righteousness, so if we have received Christ’s righteousness through our faith in Him, we ought to express that through generous living. Further, we can be generous as we trust in God, who is our abundantly generous Father. To close this little series, I want to take a look at the Parable of the Talents. Very often when we read this passage, we think of this parable about using our gifts and abilities for God (partly due to the word talent being used in this passage; note that talent here refers to a unit of money).  However, when we interpret it this way, we lose sight of the immediate idea of the parable, that of money.

This parable is about a rich man entrusting money to three of his servants with the assumption that they would use it wisely, according to the interests of the master. In the end, two of the servants use the money to increase the wealth of the master while the other servant simply buries the money and then returns it. Jesus commends the two who increased the wealth of the master but chastises the third. The two faithful ones are then given even more because of their faithfulness.

At face value, this parable is teaching us that what we have, especially our finances, are not our own. They belong to our Master and our Master expects us to use them wisely, according to the interests of our Master. All we have is actually all His. God does not just own the 10% we give in our tithe – He owns everything we have. And God is looking for us to make a return on what He gives us. The return He is looking for is not gained interest, but lives that are transformed. He expects us to invest into the Kingdom. This is God’s invitation to us – sow generously into the Kingdom, invest into the Kingdom, make a return on the Kingdom. This is an amazing invitation that God has given to us and when we accept that invitation, we grow in trust and we learn to live under the goodness of God and our lives become fruitful.

Now, quick disclaimer. The last verse says that to those who have, more will be given. This is not saying that we are guaranteed more wealth if we are generous. Rather, the more we make interest on the Kingdom – through our finances, our gifts, really, our whole lives – the more we see God move and the more we get to be a part of God’s Kingdom work. Generosity is a key avenue to being a part of God’s plan of bringing His Kingdom on earth. He is inviting us to join Him, to bring all that we have, and see an abundance come from what we bring. This is surely something we would not want to miss out on!

Prayer: Lord, may You cultivate a heart of generosity in us. May we not be like the third servant who simply buried his talent. Rather, may we seek to invest into Your Kingdom, to bring all we have so that we can reap a fruitful, Kingdom harvest. May we long to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 8


Lunch Break Study  

Read Mark 12:41-44:  And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Compare what the widow gives to what the rich people give. 
  2. Why does Jesus commend the poor widow?
  3. Is your mindset more like the rich people or the widow?

Notes

  1. In total numbers, the rich people likely gave a much, much greater amount than the poor widow. Yet, the widow gave all that she has. We do not know what the rich people gave, but likely they gave an amount that was comfortable for them, enough to feel good about themselves. 
  2. Jesus says that the widow put more in than all the rich people because she gave everything she had, out of her poverty while the rich people gave out of their abundance. I heard the following quote recently about this passage: “Generosity is not measured by what you give, but by what you don’t give.” The widow held nothing back, while the rich people likely held much back, even though what they gave was likely a lot.
  3. I know it can be easy to think, “Well I’m not rich so I’m not like them!” But the rich people’s mindset was that they’d give what was comfortable for them. Do you give what feels comfortable or what may cause a little discomfort? The widow gave out of her poverty and she is who Jesus commends to us.

Evening Reflection

This evening ask God show you what could happen through your generosity. Perhaps there could be kingdom work accomplished as you enter on the journey of generous giving! Invite God to give you direction about this.

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