Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘giving’

10 Commandments for Christ’s Ambassadors

As Jesus sent out his disciples on their first mission trip—to preach, heal, and cast out demons—He gave them these instructions.  But they are also for us today who represent Him to the world.  (See Matthew 10)

1.  Give and serve freely. (v. 8)

2.  Trust God for your needs. (v. 9-10)

3.  Focus on those who will listen. (v. 11-14)

4.  Be prepared to suffer. (v. 16-28)

5.  Trust the Holy Spirit for what to say when put on the spot. (v. 19)

6.  Don’t give up!  Endure to the end! (v. 22)

7.  Don’t be afraid. (v. 26-31)

8.  Never deny the Lord.  (v. 32-33)

9.  Prioritize God over your own family and even your own life. (v. 34-39)

10. Humbly accept what people give you as a gift to God. (v. 40-42)

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My Little Lunch

I wish I were an artist.  Here’s what I would draw:  A close-up of a boy shyly holding out a small basket, offering it to Jesus, who reaches out to receive it with a twinkle in His eye and a smile on his face.  He says, “Sonny, thank you for giving me your lunch.  But just wait till you see what I do with it!”   Later, he runs home shouting, “Mom, you know that lunch you sent with me?  You’ll never believe….!”

This reminds me of our granddaughter Emmeline who went home to heaven three months ago.  Late last year, she responded to a challenge:  What would you do if you received $50 and would seek to multiply it as Jesus did with the loaves and the fish? Emmeline responded with an essay saying that she would buy materials to make cards (which she loved to do), sell them, and send the money to a missionary family in need. She was then chosen as one to receive the money. In the next couple of months she had doubled her investment. 

Em w money loaves & fishes

As her health deteriorated and she was unable to keep up making all the cards, people from all over the world learned about her project and began sending money– usually one dollar bills, and a few 5s , 10s, and 20s and an occasional check—to put into her “Loaves and Fishes” fund.  By the time Emmeline was in the arms of Jesus, the fund had grown to $9,000.  She was just a conduit of God’s grace.  Those who gave and those who received were privileged and blessed. 

Yesterday I read through a bulletin which mentioned many different things God’s people are doing/offering around the world.  Any one of these might seem so inadequate compared to the great needs, but each one is an important part of one beautiful tapestry God is weaving now that we’ll see someday.

So today I give my little lunch, my loaves and fishes, as I answer some e-mails, make reports, mentor someone, help a neighbor…  I have no idea how God will use these things.  That will be seen in heaven.

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

A Tale of Two Rich Men

This morning, the proximity of two well-known Bible stories caught my eye.  Two rich men who sought Jesus out.  The first approaches with an apparently sincere inquiry of what it would take to get eternal life.  But as it turns out, eternal life wasn’t high enough on his priority list to pay the price: exchanging it all for a life with Jesus. So he goes away sad

Just a couple of paragraphs later, Zacchaeus was so determined to see Jesus that he made a spectacle of himself by climbing a tree to ensure a good view.  He was also very wealthy, though his reputation wasn’t so sterling as the other man–a swindler and traitor.  But he ends up joyfully giving away everything to the poor and those he has cheated.  Furthermore, he obtained the very thing that the other man had claimed to seek as Jesus exclaimed,  “Salvation has come to this home today!”

Score:  Wealth + sadness   VS.   eternal life + joy + blessing.                        Who got the better deal?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?     Matthew 16: 24-26

My Service and Its Effects

In 2 Corinthians I found three acts of service that have explicit results listed which benefit both people and God:

1:11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

Service:  Praying for those taking the gospel.

Result #1:  God answers those prayers.

Result #2:  God will be thanked, especially by those who prayed and those who receive the gospel.

4:13-15 But we continue to preach …And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

Service:  Going to take God’s grace to people.

Result #1:  People will overflow with thanksgiving to God.

Result #2:  God will be greatly glorified.

9:11b-13 And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem* will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

Service:  Giving to God’s people.

Result #1:  Their needs of our brothers & sisters will be met.

Result #2:  The recipients will thank and glorify God.

Result #3:  Our obedience to God will be evident.

After I did this study, I did a double take when I realized that the three acts of service happened to be the well-known “Pray, Give, Go” formula—only in a different order.  It’s kinda neat when things like this come out inductively rather than setting out first to “prove” something!

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