“A generous spirit is a decision of the will, not a fleeting emotion of the heart.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 15, 2021
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 (NIV)
A generous spirit is a decision of the will, not a fleeting emotion of the heart. We give generously in times of plenty, and in times of great need. Each of us spends our days in countless different vocations and pursuits- but whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a member of the armed forces serving far from home, or anywhere and anyone in-between, the call upon your life is to unconditional generosity.
As St. Paul reminds us, we give what we have decided to give. Not reluctantly or under compulsion, but cheerfully. Again, a cheerful disposition is not reserved for those with a naturally bubbly personality! Cheerfulness is a choice every single one of us can make. And so, wherever life may have you, whatever the joys or challenges of your situation and season, you are called to cheerfully give your life away as a blessing to others.
Cheerful generosity is a calling that requires a response. You and I are entirely free to reject the call and ignore the invitation of the Lord. We are able to carry on with our own personal concerns and cares, ignoring the needs of those around us. And because God is longsuffering and abounding in love for his children, he will continue to extend his goodness to us, even if we are closed off from him and others. However, until we learn to use our freedom to say yes to Christ, we will never truly know the joy of being human.
The details of your life may give you plenty of reasons to not be cheerful or generous. You may be drowning in the deep end of parenting. Your work may keep you on the road or overseas for extended periods of time, leaving you vulnerable to isolation, loneliness, and depression. Perhaps relational conflict or the loss of a loved one has left you upside down, without any natural impulse towards generous and cheerful living.
Though we may struggle to see it, these are the moments that lead us into a deep and abiding faith.
In Paul’s words, we must daily remember that God is able to bless us abundantly. So often we believe the blessing of the Lord to be conditional, based upon our suitedness to receive his blessing. This is entirely backwards! God is able to bless because he is himself a pure and perfect gift. The blessing of his life can be encountered in all things and at all times, even this very moment you find yourself in.
Receive the gift of his grace, and set your heart, mind, and will upon a generous and cheerful life, abounding in every good work.
Father, thank you for the call and invitation to be cheerful and generous givers. Help us by your grace to resolve and commit our steps to following you in this way, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can you choose today to be generous and cheerful, even if your circumstances give you plenty of excuses to do otherwise?
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