2 Corinthians 9:6–8 (NASB95)
6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
Jesus talked to the Pharisees about how they tithe their little spice plants out of obedience to the law (and so that they looked good to themselves and others) but ignored the “weightier” matters of the law (love, mercy, forgiveness, . . .).
After learning from Pastor Andrew Farley I see myself walking in the Pharisees’ path instead of Jesus’. I have been tithing under compulsion, because of the blessings and curses found in Malachi, not because I am a “cheerful giver.” I have even written posts about tithing and encouraged my sons to tithe.
Jesus wants me to give the way he gives: liberally, extravagantly, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. Jesus doesn’t give to me because he will reward himself if he does and curse himself if he doesn’t. He gives to me because he LOVES ME. He is filled with “hilarity” (root word of “cheerful”) when he gives to me.
I have prayed to give with hilarity and God has granted my request. The first time I gave with hilarity my wife and I gave to friends of ours who were in a difficult financial spot. I was filled with hilarity . . . and love, for God who enabled us to give, and for my friends who were crying they were so happy at what God had done for them.
That kind of joy I have never received by following the law and giving 10% of my income motivated by blessings and curses.
Instead, Jesus calls us to hilarity. And he has promised to supply an abundance for us to give.
When God was contemplating creating men and women – in his image – he had a lot to think about. He decided that, like himself, he would make them able to decide for themselves if they wanted to love Love or whether they would rather live for themselves. God knew before the foundation of the earth that though God would make men and women Very Good, Adam would fail to protect Eve, Eve would be deceived by satan and men and women would rebel against him, against Love. God decided that the soul that rebelled against Love could not live with him, it must have its own place to exist away from the Love it hated with such passion. Previously God had made a place for satan and demons, and God now decided this is where those people who hated Love would reside after they had died a Second time.
Though all people would hate Love, Love loved all people, each person individually. Love decided he would take the place of people that hated him and suffer and die for their wrongs himself. And so Love was crucified before the foundations of the world. And God decided, Love would rise again to bring Love to all that wanted him.
Jesus loves the mentally ill.
Jesus loves the mentally healthy.
Jesus loves those in a one-man, one-woman married relationship.
Jesus loves those who are not.
Jesus loves the scrupulously honest.
Jesus loves those who tell black, white and various-shades-of-grey lies.
Jesus loves the doctor who ends the life of an unborn person.
Jesus loves that unborn person.
Jesus loves that unborn person’s mother.
Jesus loves the person who believes they were predestined to be saved.
Jesus loves the person who believes they were not.
Jesus loves Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Catholics, Protestants and all religious people.
Jesus loves the person that believes there is no God.
Jesus loves the person who rejects Him.
Jesus loves the person who commits the unforgivable sin.
Jesus loves ALL people just the way they are.
And ALL need Him.
Even me. Even you.
And ALL can choose to receive Him as Savior, Lord and Friend.
If they are willing to turn away from their evil attitudes and actions WITH JESUS’ HELP.
And trust Jesus to forgive their evil attitudes and actions.
And trust Jesus to give them His Resurrection Life.
If I give money to the poor, and I do it in a way to seek the praise of men, I will find what I seek.
If I am reviled and persecuted by men, because that is what I sought, I prove I will find what I seek.
If I love someone with the love of Jesus, and they revile and persecute me, they do so because they desperately need Jesus but are rejecting Him because they are hurting in some way. I continue to love them, as does Jesus. And if that person realizes that God’s love, through me, is not extinguished by rejection, they may dare to hope that God’s love is real, unconditional, and offered freely to them. They might reach out to Jesus and find Him. And He will heal them.
I am flawed, and without merit. But see I Jesus working in me. He will work in you as well
Every mother who decides to end her pregnancy is still deeply loved by God; just as every mother who bears her child is deeply loved by God. Both desperately need the love and care of Jesus; who died for both of them (or rather, all four of them).
The movie UNPLANNED (R) is the true story of a real woman’s journey concerning abortion. She said she was lied to by Planned Parenthood (R) and when she discovered the truth… it changed everything.
This Thursday March 28th at 7:20 pm at Celebration! Cinema (R) South and Celebration! Cinema (R) Rivertown Crossing, UNPLANNED (R) will offer truth, love and Jesus, to anyone who is willing to see, hear, and understand.
(I have no relationship with UNPLANNED (R) or Celebration! Cinema
(R) and the opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily theirs).