Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK SIXTEEN
ORBIT – DAY SEVENTY-SEVEN
Hello! Welcome to Orbit – the daily devotional thought from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate.
Before we start today – this is going to be the last edition for a little while. We’ve had some really helpful feedback on Orbit, and we want to make sure that it’s really useful for you before we carry on. This is a great moment – especially if you’ve never got in touch before – to let me know what you like or dislike, and what you might add or do differently. Should orbit be longer, less frequent, read by different people… let me know! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
BIBLE READING – 2 Corinthians 9: 6-11
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Yesterday on Orbit we started to think a little bit about generosity, money, and how relatively difficult these two topics can be for modern Christians. I say that, because the example of the early church – where all the believers shared everything in common, and didn’t really seem to have a concept of building personal financial security – is so very difficult for us to relate to in a culture where the pursuit of money takes such a central place. For many people, money is the thing at the very centre of their lives: they are Satellites – but not in orbit around God, but wealth.
Today, we are continuing that thought, but from a much more positive angle. Paul encourages the church to grow in giving, not because they ought to, but because wonderful things can happen as a result of our generosity.
Paul says that it is important that we don’t give because we feel the pressure to do so, but because it’s on our heart to be generous. God loves a cheerful giver, he says – and that makes sense; we all know how much better the feeling is of receiving a surprise gift from someone who knows and loves us, than the slightly procedural experience of getting the specific items you requested on your Amazon Birthday wishlist. In the same way, God loves it when we give out of love rather than a sense of obligation.
At the same time, Paul provides a pretty clear incentive for giving: this idea that those who give will also receive. If you sow generously, you’ll reap generously – and vice versa. This is something that Jesus talks about too. In Luke 6 v 38, Jesus says “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.” It seems to be a pretty clear rule of the Kingdom of God – people who are generous, also receive lots back in return.
But wait… this isn’t a financial scheme – a sort of heaven-ordained get-rich-quick scheme. There are plenty of churches and preachers who will tell you that it is, but take a look at the cars they drive and the palaces that they live in, and you can be pretty sure that they’re the ones who are getting rich off the teaching. No – take a look at what Paul actually says – and it’s not quite as simple as invest £10 and get back £20.
There is a contract here – an ‘if you do x, then y’ – but it’s not just about money. Paul is definitely talking about how we give away money, but the thing that we get back might not also come with a pound sign. If you give, Paul says, then (v8) “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.” And later on in v11, “You will be enriched in every way.”
The rewards of generosity aren’t simply financial (although God is no man’s debtor). When we develop this spiritually mature practice of generosity and giving, God gives back to us in a range of ways that enable us to serve him well. Generosity takes the shackles of financial pressure off our hearts, and makes us more capable of putting other things than money first – it helps us to live with him, rather than money, at the centre of our lives.
Money is probably the number one thing that gets in the way of God truly being our top priority. The wonderful thing about giving is that as well as helping people practically, it enables us to put God in his rightful place at the centre of our lives. And when he is in that place, that is when we are best positioned to experience the ‘life in all its fullness” that Jesus promises.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
God, please help me to be a cheerful giver. Help me not to place money at the centre of my life – not the pursuit of it, nor the fear of losing or not having it. I pray that you would help me to develop the discipline of giving my money away, so that I can never become a slave to it. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
God promises to bless us, especially when we practice generosity – but do you ever take time to count your blessings? This is a really helpful thing to do at any time, so why not take some time to do it today. Make a list – in your head, but even better on paper or on your phone – of all the things you are grateful for; all the good things that God has given you – from family and friends, to your favourite places, to the good things going on in your life at the moment. After you’ve made the list, pray through it – thanking God for his many blessings.
That’s it for another Orbit. We’re taking a little break now – but we’ll be back soon. Please remember to send in your feedback to email@example.com. We hope that you enjoyed today’s Orbit and found it helpful – we’ll be back again soon.