Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Romans 1:14

Have you ever truly found more benefit by giving or doing good toward other people? It can sound cliche to hear that the giver receives more than the recipient, yet I've been in situations where that is absolutely true. It would be very interesting to see the results of a double-blind study comparing the money we spend on tithe and almsgiving, giving away to other people, with the money and value of the time and gifts we receive from others. My husband is especially good at tithing immediately and being generous with anyone who asks and quite a few who don't ask for help. I am unfortunately more stingy, but I have very clearly seen God's abundance toward us in response to my husband's abundance toward others. A study comparing the money we spend on God's work vs. the money we save or receive from the generosity of other people probably wouldn't produce very clear results. God's abundance toward us isn't always immediate or easy to tag as being from God and not a result of our own efforts or "coincidence". Yet I do believe we have benefited a great deal from giving our time, money, and talents away to other people.

I think Paul must have seen that in his life as well. And of course all this touches only on the rewards of this life; Christ promised far greater blessings in the life to come. I suspect Paul received abundant blessings in his life, but I think the debt he is referring to is for the eternal blessings he knew he would be receiving. Who wouldn't be grateful for the opportunity to invest $100 if they knew they would receive another $100 now as a stipend with $100 or more paid again at some time down the road (see Luke 6:38)? If Paul, who gave so much, was indebted to those he gave to, I'd better follow his example as well as I can. He understood God's economy better than I ever will; I'd be smart to put myself into as much "debt" as possible by serving and giving to others.

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