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And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

There is a story in the book of Acts about a couple who got caught up in the generosity of the Christ-followers in Jerusalem. Everyone was giving away their possessions to help the poor and this couple had some land that they wanted to donate so that they would look good to the others. The problem was they weren’t quite ready to part with ALL the money from that land so they devised a plan where they would lie to the disciples and tell them they sold the land for less than they really did.

The plan backfired on the couple though and they were found out. The consequence for their deceitfulness? Death! God struck them both down in front of everyone. It was a harsh reminder then, and now, of the importance of having the right attitude about our giving. They were not required to give everything to the believers in their group and their motive was pure selfishness.

I don’t have any strong theological reason for saying this, but I wonder if one of the reasons God was so hard on this couple is because He is so generous to us. Paul writes to the church in Corinth to remind them that God gives ALL things at ALL times so we will have ALL we need to do ALL good works. In other words, God doesn’t hold back anything from His vast storehouse of blessing.

Our Heavenly Father wants to bless us generously so that we can bless others generously. We like to think that His blessing is physical and sometimes it is, but more often our blessing comes in the realm of emotional and spiritual blessing. Physical blessing fades away, but the blessing of our hearts can never be taken from us.

Sometimes it’s hard to be generous because extreme generosity is risky for us. We are afraid that if we are too generous our own needs will go unmet. We are afraid that others may misjudge our motives or take advantage of our kindness. Other times (we hate to admit this) we hold back our blessing of others because they have hurt us and we refuse to forgive them.

Our Father is generous to us without conditions and knowing we won’t always appreciate His blessing. As Christ-followers, how we bless others is a reflection of our Father’s generosity to the world around us. Be willing to practice X-treme generosity in the name of Jesus. Take some risks knowing that your kindness may not be returned and that you may be taken advantage of.

PRAYER: Dear Father in Heaven. I confess to you that often my generosity is motivated by my desire for recognition and appreciation. It’s difficult to give to others when I am not appreciated, when I’m misunderstood or when those I’m to bless have hurt me. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to bless those in my corner of the world for your sake and not mine. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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