Monday, May 17, 2010

"As We Give"

We get as we give during our earthly lives, but never do we give in order to get.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38).

The love of the Lord Jesus Christ manifested in the hearts of born again believers makes self sacrifice the natural, or supernatural, course of our lives. As we walk in the sublime expression of God's character revealed in us, He ensures that we reap what we sow. However, this same character also motivates us to give not for the purpose of receiving tangible rewards in return, but rather for the pure joy of knowing we are glorifying our Lord and being a blessing to others. "Charity... seeketh not her own" (I Corinthians 13:5). We were made and redeemed for this, and perhaps the greatest miracle of salvation in Christ is the progressive transformation of our sensibilities from fleshly self-centeredness to God's otherness.

The love of Christ manifested in us is its own reward. However, God purposes to add to this infinite bounty of joy, and throughout our earthly lifetimes, we increasingly discover that we get as we give. The returns, as it were, may not always appear to be specifically related to the investments. Just as we seek to love in relationship to the recipent's need, so does our Heavenly Father reward us according to our own. A cup of cold water given may come back to us in a kindly word spoken by another when we are tempted to discouragement. An attitude of graciousness we express might return to us in a tangible gift of provision administered when we need it. An act of forgiveness on our part may result in wise counsel imparted to us by just the right voice, at just the right time. Or God Himself may be the portion received in return, that is, the nature, character, and person of our Lord realized within us may be more than enough to requite any form of sacrifice we have made by the leading and enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Whatever the nature of the giving/receiving dynamic of Christ's love manifested in us, the result is the same: the glory of the Lord Jesus revealed, the heart of someone else blessed through us, and our own hearts filled with the receiving that accompanies giving expressed not for return, but in devotion to God and others. Again, we get as we give, but never do we give in order to get. Every aspect of our lives is governed by this Divine motivation and sensibility implanted in us by the Holy Spirit, who ever moves within us to reveal the self-sacrificial love of Christ, and then to return it to us as we do.

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."
(I Peter 1:23)

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