December 8, Tuesday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, prepared by Pastor Jason Sato, was first posted on April 29, 2014.  Jason, along with his wife Jessica, is currently serving in Japan as a missionary.  Jason is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.). 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“Share all good things with who?”

Galatians 6:6-10 (ESV)

“Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. [7] Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. [8] For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [9] And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [10] So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Would you like to share a delicious steak dinner . . . with your pastor?  How about your new iPad? Or those golf clubs?  Sorry, am I starting to sound like a cult leader? Don’t worry!  I am not trying to take all your stuff. I think it’s safe to say that we are very wary of being taken advantage of.  So what do we do when it’s not some smarmy televangelist but the apostle Paul himself saying, “Share all good things with the one who teaches” (v. 6)?

While we are uncomfortable when anyone (God included) brings up the issue of money, I don’t think this passage is talking about giving your pastor a hi-five. At the same time, we recognize that neither Paul nor any other faithful minister would instruct us to do anything solely for his own personal gain. So what is he teaching here?

First, giving is a means of putting into practice the command to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). A pastor’s responsibility to provide for his family is by no means a small burden. I’ve witnessed first-hand the stress and strain of a pastor working full-time, leading a church, and ministering to his wife and children. Our responsibility as a body is to help bear our brother’s burden.

Second, giving is a means of valuing the Word of God which leads to eternal life. Our giving frees our pastors to devote themselves to the Word of God and prayer that we might be fed and blessed. While there are always an endless number of things we can sow our finances into, how many of them lead to spiritual growth and life? How many of them actually lead us further away from God?

In the end, giving is not a question of an exact dollar amount or percentage. And while we may breathe a quick sigh of relief, I would suggest the real questions are much more challenging. For example, how can our giving meaningfully contribute to the bearing of another’s financial burden? Or how can our giving reflect the true value of the Word that leads to eternal life? Invite the Lord to help you answer these questions.

Prayer: Father, You have been so abundantly generous to me. Thank You that I can trust You to continue to provide for me and that You have given me the opportunity to bless others around me that are in need. May all the earthly wealth You’ve given me be used to store up treasure in heaven.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:2 Corinthians 10


Lunch Break Study  

Read Luke 16:1-9 (ESV): “He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. [2] And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ [3] And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. [4] I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ [5] So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ [6] He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ [7] Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ [8] The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. [9] And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

Questions to Consider

  1. The shrewd manager acts in light of his knowledge. According to v. 2-3, what are two things the shrewd manager knows?
  2. Whose wealth does the shrewd manager use?
  3. For what does the shrewd manager use the wealth? For what are Jesus’ disciples instructed to use their wealth?

Notes

  1. The shrewd manager knows what the future holds for himself. He will be unemployed. The shrewd manager also knows himself. He is too weak to dig and too ashamed to beg.
  2. The shrewd manager reduces each man’s debt, essentially using his master’s wealth. The manager is simply a steward, never an owner of anything.
  3. The shrewd manager uses his master’s wealth to obtain the favor of his master’s debtors. Jesus instructs the disciples to be generous with the earthly wealth they have been given stewardship over in order to bless others and have eternal rewards.

Evening Reflection

Reflect on your day. What opportunities were you given to be generous with your possessions? How were you tempted to make decisions fueled by love of money? 

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