Welcome to our Fall season of Extravagant Generosity. It’s an exciting time for us to be celebrating the riches that God has given us. Throughout the next five weeks, we’ll be emailing a weekly devotional related to Extravagant Generosity to everyone. Please feel free to pass these Devotionals along to anyone you like——one way to share the wealth!
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19.
. . .“the life that really is life.” Isn’t that a remarkable description of the joyous and rich existence of a soul-full life? According to Paul as he writes to Timothy,being rich in good works and generosity is the formula for living this life that is really life. An anonymous quote puts it this way: “Happiness comes not from having what we want, but from wanting what we have.” A full life doesn’t come from beautiful homes or fast cars or opulent retirement accounts. Rather, it is the result of the Extravagant Generosity of Spirit that we are focusing on this Fall. That generosity, in turn, comes from the grateful celebration of all that we have. Not only things, but also love, friendship, or the satisfaction of making someone’s day. Generosity is a spiritual practice. The spirit of generosity is the fruit of that practice. Giving is a thing to do, and a spiritual gift that comes from the doing, all at the same time. It’s an opportunity for us to cement that foundation of gratitude for all that we have been given. We share because it reminds us of how rich we are.
Lon and I decided this week to watch the movie “Pay It Forward” for our movie night choice. Have you seen it? What an amazing and stirring movie! The story goes in this movie that 12-year-old Trevor McKinney is given an assignment by his Social Studies teacher, Mr. Simonet, to find one thing that would make the world a better place, and go do it. Trevor decides he will help three people to have what they need, then ask each of them to “pay it forward” to three other people. In Trevor’s 12 year-old-vision, the world would very soon exponentially expand in kindness and generosity. Not surprisingly, Trevor’s ideal does not play out anything like his wish. The results of his experiment, though at times heartbreaking and complicated, do end up bringing rich healing in surprising ways. All of those outcomes started with “paying it forward.” Ultimately, generosity is about paying it forward. We give because we can, and because we have. Lon and I challenged ourselves—after we stopped crying at the end of the movie—well, me anyway—to name the thing we are most grateful for in our lives. Then we asked, “How can we share that?” To who and how can we pay it forward?
What extravagance do you enjoy in your life today? How can you pay it forward?
Prayer for the week:
Oh gracious God,
Who generously lavishes our lives with goodness,
Create in our hearts a deep center of gratitude,
A center that grows so strong in its thanksgiving
That sharing freely of our treasures becomes the pattern of our existence.
May we always be grateful for your reaching into our lives
With surprises of joy, growth and unconditional love.
JoyceRupp. (2006). Fresh Bread