Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Generously and Joyfully

Reading: Deuteronomy 26: 1-11

Verse 10: “I will bring the first fruits of the soil that you, O Lord, have given me”.

Being thankful or grateful is such an important part of our faith. It was so important to God that this practice is one of the key tenets of the chosen people’s faith. Every year it was celebrated. Today we read, “I will bring the first fruits of the soil that you, O Lord, have given me”. By bringing the first fruits we act in faith and trust. Abel brought the first lambs of his flock trusting that God would give him more. In faith Abraham offered his only son Isaac on the altar trusting that God would provide.

In our passage today, the first fruits are being offered as a “thank” offering. The first grapes or wheat or olive oil or lamb or goat or… was brought and sacrificed to God along with prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings in their lives. It was a time of joy. Our passage closes with, “rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given you”. These offerings also acknowledged that it is God alone who provides. This is still an important perspective for us to keep.

These two practices remain essential to healthy faith. Our first fruit is often referred to as a tithe in the church. We usually think of it as money but it can also be our time or our talents too. Either way, God still calls for it to be the first fruits. In practice that means we write the check or give the gift at the start of the month. This demonstrates trust and faith in God. It requires much less to wait until the end of the month to give what is left. No one wants leftovers. To give thankfully and joyfully is also an essential. To give willingly with a heart that rejoices in all that God has done is pleasing to God. Remember cleaning your room grudgingly because you had to? Don’t give that way.

Lest we think it too easy, we must remember that God calls us to this thankful giving so that we learn to always live with a generous and giving heart. In the day to day of life we are also called to give of ourselves when opportunity arises. It may be time for a lonely friend, it may be a meal for a hungry person, it may be watching a young mom’s kids so she can go to the grocery store. In all we do may we be thankful to God and may we share richly with others.

Prayer: Lord, may I hold loosely to all you bless me with so that it may freely go to those in need. Amen.

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Reading: Luke 17: 5-10

As Christians, our role is to love God and to love neighbor.  It is what we are called to do.  In loving, we are also often called to do for or to serve God and neighbor.  We usually do so willingly and obediently, so we understand Jesus’ teaching that doing so is simply our duty as Christians.  In serving our Master and Lord we should not expect extra thanks or special recognition.

Every once in a while we notice something at home or work or church that needs done.  It may not be our “job” but w notice it needs done, so we do it.  Some of the time, when we serve with good intentions, God blesses us.  For example, a couple of weeks ago I noticed that some of the windows at the church needed cleaned.  As I was getting ready to clean windows that evening, a man wandered up to the parsonage looking for an odd job to do.  I invited him to join me and our time together was wonderful.  We accomplished a hard task and we began a new friendship.  Such a blessing!

But sometimes we notice a job that needs done and we go about it grudgingly.  As we work, we run through the list of people whose job this really is or should be.  We may even become upset with them for not doing their job as we slave away to do what should have already been done.  Grudgingly, work, slave.  In this mindset, boy do we need an attitude adjustment!

Lord, when we are working grudgingly, change our hearts so we are willingly serving, being a faithful servant instead of an overworked slave.  Lord Jesus, help us to love and serve generously, following the example you set for us.  Thank you.