Read: “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.” Luke 6:35-36 (MSG)
Reflect: When I was in junior high school, my best friend and I started this thing where the one who paid was whichever of us had money. If we were stopping to grab a snack and she didn’t have any cash, I would buy knowing she would return the favor at a later date. We even agreed we wouldn’t keep track. We both had the intention that we wanted to keep it even, so I knew we could trust each other. It felt generous but I also felt the burden of reciprocity and obligation.
Several years later when my husband and I felt God ask us to rethink our approach to generosity, I wasn’t sure what that meant. Through prayer we learned that God wanted us to change our whole perspective; to become generous in spirit and let everything we did flow out of that. This was about so much more than our finances. He wanted us to generously extend grace, generously offer love, and generously give of our time—all without any thought of keeping things even. He wanted us to pour out on everyone we came in contact with just because it was the way he invited us to live, not because we were going to get anything in return. Giving up the need for reciprocity also allowed us to receive freely, with joy, when others were generous toward us.
God generously offers all of us love, grace, time, forgiveness, provision, …the list could go on and on… all without demanding we reciprocate. He does it because he loves us. He wants me to trust that he will continue as I practice living in a way that reflects him.
React: Ask God to help you become more generous in spirit. Allow him to strip away any feelings of expectation or reciprocity when you give or serve others.
Pray: God, you give to us with overwhelming abundance. Help us to grow to be more like Jesus as we practice generosity.