John T. Willis

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Risk of Generosity

By the way God has created all of us, we MUST take risks of all types. Any time we eat food, drink liquids, drive a car, get married, have children, get a job--the works--we are taking risks. Depending on one's inner feelings, each individual constantly confronts various levels of uncertainty and anticipations as a person lives every day of her or his life.

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 addresses this reality of life.

Send out your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will get it back.
Divide your means seven ways, or even eight,
for you do not know what disaster may happen on earth.
When clouds are full,
they empty rain on the earth;
whether a tree falls to the south or to the north.
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
Whoever observes the wind will not sow;
and whoever regards the clouds will not reap.
Just as you do not know how the breath comes to the bones in the mother's womb,
so you do not know the work of God, who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed,
and at evening do not let your hands be idle;
for you do not know which will prosper, this or that,
or whether both alike will be good.

At least three significant truths appear in this challenging text.

1. It is absolutely essential that EVERY PERSON attempt to DO SOMETHING if she or he EVER expects to make progress through life. There is NO WAY to avoid this DILEMMA. God has made us this way.

2. God assures us that when we DO make attempts to serve him, he will bless us. Making an investment of any kind is a risk, but God promises us that he will provide more for us than we ever dreamed. Jesus says in Luke 6:38:
"Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap;
for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
When we are generous, we NEVER KNOW FOR SURE that God will bless us. And actually, we SHOULD NOT be generous IN ORDER TO be blessed. But God works this way whether we like it or not.
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 contains this powerful message:
If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, 'Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.'

3. God's work is mysterious, but powerful. God causes a child to conceive in the mother's womb, gives birth to the child, and causes the child to breathe and live on earth. We all observe this wonderful event, but there is much mystery in HOW this happens and works. At the same time, there can be no doubt that GREAT POWER is at work in the life of every person.

We tend to be FEARFUL and ANXIOUS. God summons us to TAKE RISKS with conviction and confidence. God has made us this way. Step out into the air, into the darkness, into the future. God will be there and bless you.

Share YOUR ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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