Monday, March 31, 2014

"Reception and Responsibility"

        "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean.  But much increase is by the strength of the ox" (Proverbs 14:4).

         Blessings and responsibilities go hand in hand.  Solomon speaks to this in his affirmation concerning "the strength of the ox," which comes with the responsibility of time and effort spent in caring for the ox.  The Apostle Paul also referenced this in his epistle to the Romans:

        "Jesus whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith for His name" (Romans 1:5).

      God's freely given favor in Christ - grace - blessed Paul also with a life of privileged obligation and duty - apostleship.  "I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise" (Romans 1:14).  We were made for such a realization of responsibility, wherein we understand that the reception of our Lord's good gifts prepares us to be the distributor of them.  "Freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8).  Any other bestowal of grace would leave us in the self-centeredness of sin from which the Lord Jesus came to deliver us.  Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, God imparts His love into our hearts when we believe (Romans 5:5).  Thereby, He begins our transformation from being black holes that draw all things into ourselves for personal benefit into the bright and shining stars that bless others with the Light of Christ (Philippians 2:15). 

    The more grace we experience through the Lord Jesus, the more He blesses us with the call to self sacrificially devote ourselves to God and others.  Indeed, we best know our Heavenly Father's love not when it comes to us, as wonderful as that is, but rather when it flows within and through us.  As the Holy Spirit leads us to give, He graces our sacrifice with the message of how much we have been given.  We discover the joy our Lord knows, the joy of otherness that fills our heart to overflow even as we empty it for the glory of God and the blessing of our world.

"Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
(Acts 20:35)

Weekly Memory Verse
   The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
(Proverbs 28:1)

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