“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25 NIV).
As we accept God’s grace in our broken lives, we begin to see how he uses our earthly and spiritual gifts to refresh others. This is the joy of grace flowing through thanksgiving of our gifts and then giving and fasting of our gifts through advent.
In our brokenness, we often lose sight of the privilege of the many gifts bestowed to us and the joy of giving. This was the root of Cain’s jealousy of Abel and the destruction of their brotherhood. This type of jealousy is expressed in Proverbs 21:26, “All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing”. Then there are those of us who can be prideful in our gifts as the hypocrites in Matthew 23. But joyful and generous giving is a flow of gratitude of the grace and gifts given to us.
As an example, since I married a musician and artist, lavish possessions are not something my husband has been able to share with me. But I get the sweetest letters and an occasional song recorded. And last year for my fortieth birthday my husband gave me my most treasured gift. He had friends and family send him video clips wishing me a happy birthday and he put together a video for me. While it took a lot of effort and creativity on his part, it didn’t cost him any money. It was from his gifting that the gift became a great treasure. The community of Christ can experience so much joy in the sharing of our gifts.
“But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7)
Dr. Beth Ackerman is the Associate Dean, School of Education, at Liberty University. Learn more about Liberty University, click here.
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