, Muskogee, OK

November 18, 2013

Kindness, grace and thanksgiving have lots in common

By Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— What goes through your mind when you give away money, time, or other things of value to someone in need, or maybe for a good cause?

Do you feel joy and cheer, or are you irritated that you feel guilted or pressured into giving?

The apostle Paul reminded Christians in Corinth of the importance of generous giving by basically saying that you reap what you sow.

In return for being a cheerful giver, Paul says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).”

The Bible never says that I will have a forever blooming money tree in my backyard just because I did a kind deed or two.

In fact, James 4:3 explains that people sometimes don’t get what they pray for because of impure motives.

But still, when I hear the words “all grace” my ears perk up for sure!

Paul is simply saying that when we give generously and cheerfully to the work of the Lord, God will take care of us.

In other words, if we show wisdom in how we spend our time and money to make a difference, God will continue to bless us so that we can continue to help others.  

But the blessing doesn’t stop there. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:13 that when we supply the needs of God’s people, men will praise God! Why? Because the attitudes and actions of the givers are in step with the good news of Christ they have proclaimed.

In short, people praise God when they see that a Christian’s walk matches his or her talk of God’s grace.

 And then it would only be natural that someone would want to be a part of that.

Even when a late night television talk show host known for off-color humor encourages America to pray for victims of the typhoon in the Philippines, the attention of millions of viewers is suddenly focused on our dependence on God.

You see, when people incorporate Godly character traits into their speech and actions, good things happen, not just for those being served, but even more so for those providing the service.  

Paul often speaks of giving in terms of it being a benefit to the giver as well as bringing praise and thanks to God both from the recipient and those watching from afar, sometimes with an eye of skepticism.

November is a great time to spend with family and friends, and to be reminded of our blessings for which we should be thankful.

May we also look for opportunities to serve in ways that will bring glory to the One who is the giver of all good things.

Have a great week!