Mar. 8, 2018

Practicing Generosity

Looking for “spiritual experiences”? Before heading off to the next church or religion on the “quest”, on the “journey”, on the “path” in the pursuit of what you think someone or some organization or institution might have to give to you, where you don’t think you’re being “fed”, how about a look at what’s right in front of you, and has been there all along? Try this one, if you’re looking for a “spiritual practice”.

 

"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." Luke 6:38 (NASB)

Jesus doesn’t even remotely give the impression that the answer lies in complaining about your church, what it doesn’t give you, or how others don’t treat you right. Nor does He suggest switching religions the way people do today - like changing your socks. What He does teach us, by both His own example and His words, is that the Kingdom is here and now, right around us, in front of us. He shows us that by a switch in how we think (renewal of the mind) and turning away from the blame game (repentance), and moving toward complicity with His Way of going about life (putting on the mind / attitude of Christ and surrender of our will to the Father), we can begin to be the catalyst for a transformed life full of answers, instead of questions and struggle and strife.

The above passage of Luke is at first a command followed by a promise. When the Lord makes such a statement, He is revealing a principle of the Kingdom of Heaven - where the experience of blessing flows from obedience to what He is telling us to do, on a consistent basis, as a habit. This is “spiritual practice” at its finest. We’re expected to comply so that we can receive the blessed result! And it comes to fruition rather speedily, since He also promises us, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. If He has given a principle followed by a promise, in other words, it will happen as advertised, we might say.

This is what might be perceived as a key to the kingdom. It unbinds us from the cycle of want or debt, in which so many people find themselves today. Even if someone is not necessarily on hard times, and may just wish to be a blessing, then see what will happen with a little practice of generosity. 

And there’s one more point where this is concerned - that it’s done quietly without fanfare or bragging on oneself on social media about all the good we do. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:2-4.

When we give or practice generosity, it’s important to do so very, very quietly. This is a spiritual practice that can be done any time, any day. We do not need to belong to the “right” church. It’s up to us to be as Jesus Christ in this life and world, to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth, both by prayer and the action that springs from the obedience of faith.

PS: Maybe the quietness and anonymity that goes with being generous keeps the ego, which wants notoriety and fanfare, out of it.