In the coming months, difficult though it may be, we may see more people around us suffering in more ways than we have ever seen before.
But in that comes opportunity ... comes fertile soil into which we can cast God's love broadly and richly.
This is a challenge for me ... I have commented many times in recent months how blessed I feel to have had only minimal impact from the recession ... how I see responsibility being driven by that blessing. But yet fear tries to overtake me ... what if the recession and tough economy do catch up with me ... what if the blessings seem to run out? Don't I need to store up now in order to cover the "what ifs"?
God doesn't call us to that, though. He instead promises His faithfulness to us. And we've seen Him provide for us all before. But still ... the "what ifs" sneak in and plague me ... they desire to ruin God's plans for me ... and for those around me.
Here are verses 8 - 15 of this chapter. May they show me the necessity of overcoming the "what ifs" with gratitude and giving.
8-11God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
12-15Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they'll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!