REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 18, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Giving and Receiving”
Matthew 10:8; Acts 20:35
“Freely you have received, freely give”; “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
In 2003, when my sister-in-law gave us a 1995 Camry, we were thrilled since we were still driving our 1989 Accord while living in Mexico. But since our old car was still running well, we gave it to a Mexican pastor who lived in another city, an acquaintance of a fellow missionary who told us about his need. Several years later, this pastor and others were at my house for a meeting. As we spoke, he told me with a beaming smile how he made a handsome profit by selling my old car to someone desperate enough to buy a 20+ year old car! Perhaps, he either forgot or decided to ignore what Jesus taught: “Freely you have received, freely give.” While this man didn’t sin by opting to do this, he certainly wasn’t blessed by selling that which he received freely.
Of course, we should not do good with the hope of getting more in return. Rather, we do good, among other reasons, to bring glory to God, particularly in a world hostile to Him. Apostle Peter, living in such a world, wrote, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pet. 2:12). Nevertheless, we should neither ignore what Christ said about how giving affects the extent of God’s blessings: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Lk. 6:38).
One day, while I was teaching in Mexico, the stand that held by my laptop fell over and totally destroyed my computer. Later, a man from that church, who heard about the accident, gifted me with a brand new laptop. God was being very generous with me! And having realized how much God had blessed me through other people’s generosity, naturally, as we were leaving Mexico to move to the states, we gave away the Camry and the tent-trailer, which was so useful to me. I sure hope those who received them for free didn’t sell them; for their own good. Folks, let’s be generous!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we once again recognize the magnitude of your generosity towards us in every sphere of our lives. Thank You for giving us so many things that we don’t deserve. Remind us and empower us always to be generous so that others may be blessed as we have been. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Nehemiah 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 12:11-21: And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Questions to Consider
- Why did Jesus tell this parable in the first place?
- What caused the rich man in this passage to be greedy instead of being generous?
- How is your generosity? What is keeping you from freely giving what you have freely received?
- Jesus was talking about something very serious (being persecuted for faith), but the only thing on the mind of this person in the crowd was getting his share of the family inheritance. His sole interest was, somehow, using Christ’s power and authority to make sure he got his share of the pie.
- The reason for this man’s wealth, according to Jesus, was the fertile land that produced an abundant crop. God was directly responsible for his prosperity, which meant that it wasn’t his to keep, at least, not entirely. But this man planned to keep it all to himself.
- Our default position is always wanting more, and on top of that, we are always insecure about our future. A toxic mixture of those and other sin-related factors causes us to be ungrateful and be narcissistic misers. Knowing our weakness, we need to intentionally plan to be generous.
As you look back, did you have an opportunity to be generous today with your money, time, or even talent? How did you fare? Instead of focusing on our failure, look to God who loves us unconditionally.