July 30, 2015

Proverbs 11:17-18 A kind man benefits himself,
but a cruel man brings trouble on himself
The wicked man earns deceptive wages,
but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.

The simple fact of the matter is, being nice is the path to greatest blessing. Mean people are not happy. Selfish, self-centered people are not really happy. It is those who are active in transmitting the grace and blessings of God who enjoy them most. “Looking out for #1” results in emotional poverty that is ultimately pathetic. This fits in perfectly with the one saying of Jesus that isn’t recorded in the Gospels, but Paul quotes in Acts 20:35. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Lots of people quote that without really believing it! It comes back to what Jesus said that is recorded in the Gospels: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) Some people try to apply that to financial gain, but they have the wrong motive in the first place. As Jesus said, a person’s life does not consist of what they have or what they eat or what they wear. (Matthew 6:25) It is only when we understand what true riches are that we really start to gain them.

I really feel like Cathy and I are some of the wealthiest people in this city, even though the tax bureau isn’t much interested in us. I look at Cathy and see that she is almost universally loved, because she loves so extravagantly. People are almost taken aback by how she lets the love of God flow through her, but as soon as they recognize it they are hungry for more. At a funeral this year I mentioned to a man from the funeral parlor, whom we don’t know particularly well, that if Cathy were to die I’d need to use the city concert hall for her funeral, and he said, “More like the arena.” I had to agree, but I was surprised that her reputation had spread even to those with whom we don’t have that much contact. To be honest, I don’t even know the man’s name! God does indeed bless us richly, but the more we are focused on what we are getting, the less we will actually get. We need to stay focused first of all on the One who provides all good things, (James 1:17) and then on those with whom we can share those things. If we will do that, there is literally no end to the blessings that will be poured on and through us.

Father, thank You for “Kingdom economics.” Thank You that in Your kingdom the way up is down, the way to get is to give, the way to live is to die. Thank You precisely because it violates human logic and causes us to depend on You. Help us follow You more and more closely, more and more extravagantly, so that many may be drawn into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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