Friday, September 17, 2010

Blessed Are The Liberal

Jesus said:
"You cannot serve both God and wealth."
                                     (Luke 16:13)
Use your money.  You'll see that theme in the story we find in this Sunday's gospel (Luke 16:1-13).  Use your money.  Don't worship it.  Don't count on it.  Don't just hang onto it.  Use it.  Use it to bless the poor and oppressed.  Use it to make friends and witness to God's goodness.  Sure, use common sense, but don't worry too much.  Go ahead and spend on what is worthwhile or give to those in need.  Don't let it pile up. 

When there's a chance we might really help someone, the Holy Spirit leads us to be like God, and God is unfailingly generous--kind even to the ungrateful and wicked (Luke 6:32-36).  Might we get taken advantage of, sure.  But that happens to God all the time.

Give yourself a heart check this weekend or next week.  How do you respond when given an opportunity to give your money away?  On Tuesday night Toni and I came home to find a flock of plastic flamingos in our front yard.  It was a fund-raising effort on behalf of Wright County Faith in Action.   This Sunday at ELC/Cokato the Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir will sing--and, of course a special offering will be received. 

How will you respond when the flamingos land in your yard or the offering plate is presented to you?  When Jesus lives in your heart, you will be joyfully generous.  If not, it's time for some prayer.

Liberal generosity is a part of God's heart.  You can't read the gospels or know the Lord Jesus without recognizing this is true.  And because God is like that, he gives his sons and daughters liberal hearts.  He even commands us to love our enemies and give to everyone who begs.  If you don't believe it, read Matthew 5:38-48.

Those of us who treasure God's Word shouldn't complain when someone asks us for our money.  Yes, I do believe there are reasons why we might say no now and then.  We need to use common sense and avoid rewarding or enabling bad behavior.  Still, the Bible gives us more reasons to fear being tight-fisted than to be afraid of being overly generous.  So, when an opportunity comes to give to something that we know is good, the heart of God within us leaps for joy!

Is God a liberal?  What about the disciples of Jesus?  In terms of generosity, that is most certainly true!

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