GIVING AND RECEIVING
“…without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto thee. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” - Romans 1:9-11; 15:24-26
To what extent would Paul travel to impart a spiritual gift and receive a material gift for others? The answer is that he would make great sacrifices and suffer untold hardships to be a vessel of giving. To impart a spiritual gift enriched the lives of those receiving the gift. But it also enriched the life of the church.
Receiving a monetary gift would enrich the church at large. But it would also bless the giver and the recipient of the gift. Paul himself would be encouraged by the opportunity to participate in this process.
When true Spirit-filled, God-directed giving takes place, no one loses, and everyone gains. In the tangible expressions of our submission to God there is no subtraction, only multiplication.
To view life this way requires that we step out of ourselves and understand our significance as part of something larger than our own interests.
We must deny ourselves to the extent that our hopes, dreams, and preferences are of lesser importance than the Kingdom of God.
From whence comes such a radical attitude?
It comes from the place of prayer where we learn to say, “the will of God” with deep reverence and joyous anticipation.
It comes from the exercise of His presence in devotion and contemplation of His Word.
It comes from earnest seeking in the closet of solitude where He changes our heartbeat to pulsate with His own rhythm.
In short, the attitude that embraces the twin Christian graces of giving and receiving comes from God Himself.
Wouldn't you love to hear that actual tune, "A Dove on Distant Oaks?"
Be merciful to me, my God,for my enemies are in hot pursuit;all day long they press their attack.My adversaries pursue me all day long;in their pride many are attacking me.When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.What can mere mortals do to me?All day long they twist my words;all their schemes are for my ruin.They conspire, they lurk,they watch my steps,hoping to take my life.Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;in your anger, God, bring the nations down.Record my misery;list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?Then my enemies will turn backwhen I call for help.By this I will know that God is for me.In God, whose word I praise,in the Lord, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.What can man do to me?I am under vows to you, my God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.For you have delivered me from deathand my feet from stumbling,that I may walk before Godin the light of life.
I would defer to the word of tomorrowBut I must report, that much to my sorrowSuch deference to reference a day that won't beIs lost in torrents of a bottomless sea.This twenty-eighth day of month number twoIs the last of it's kind and that's bad news for youIf you had planned to get done some task incompleteIn this month of February, you'll go down in defeat.It's over my friend, finished, exhaustedAnd your goose is cooked, completely defrosted.Tomorrow is March and the year marches onThe best you can hope for is a new start next dawn.But I will show deference to all who forgotAnd congratulate all who somehow did not.
" ...But when I thought how to understand this,it seemed to me a wearisome task,until I went into the sanctuary of God;then I discerned their end."(Psalm 73:15-17 ESV)" When my soul was embittered,when I was pricked in heart,I was brutish and ignorant;I was like a beast toward you.""Nevertheless, I am continually with you;you hold my right hand.You guide me with your counsel,and afterward you will receive me to glory.Whom have I in heaven but you?And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.My flesh and my heart may fail,but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."(Psalm 73:21-26 ESV)