Advent Day 17: Generosity

Advent Day 17

Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you.  (2 Corinthians 9:13-14)

The LORD watches over the strangers … (Psalm 146:9)

Once a man proudly announced to me, “I take care of my own!”  He meant that he took care of his family, and he was proud of that.  Part of me could understand what he meant.  He came from a rural area where people struggled to earn a living, and some had given up trying. 

Yet a little voice in my head said, “So?  Why should you go around announcing that you did your duty?  Do you expect a gold star?”  (I think I said the same thing out loud, but with a little more good Southern manners.)

Jesus wasn’t too pleased with the so-called faithful people he encountered whose concern for others never left the front door.  (see Luke 6)  Giving something away, and trusting that God will do the right thing with it, is an act of faith.  God has enough faith in us, after all, to entrust the care of others to us!

So, today’s spiritual practice is a combination of genrerosity and trust.  Set out a jar or dish for loose change and “lost” money, like bills that end up in the washing machine.  Don’t touch it until it reaches $5 or $10, and then give it away.  As the change accumulates, pray for whoever will receive the money.  If you feel weird about giving away a ton of change, look for places that purposefully collect loose change.  Our church collects “Pennies for Hunger” in addition to our regular offerings– part of the fun is listening to the change clang around in the bucket.  This offering raises so much money, you’d be surprised. 

To be sure, what I’m proposing does not top the charts in terms of generosity.  I’m simply offering this to you as a starting point.  Try praying every day for whoever will receive this gift.  Try giving without hiding behind excuses, such as “What if the recipient wastes my money?”  Read more of Paul’s appeal to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, in which he reminds the givers that the recipients are praying for them.  Who might be praying for you to be generous?

Today’s daily Scripture reading from the PC(USA):

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