Catch and Release

Read: When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day… You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:10-11, 17-18 (NIV)

Reflect:  This is the time of year I look forward to, maybe more than my birthday or Christmas. Why?  Tax refund and bonus time!  My husband and I are blessed with great employers. For the last 15 years or so, we have looked forward to generous bonuses.  And because we have consistently chosen to withhold more than we need to, we can count on a nice tax refund. So, in anticipation of “payday”, I’m already imagining what great (read selfish) things I can spend the money on – redesign the yard, maybe update a room in the house, update the wardrobe, go on a lavish vacation, etc. In times past, the thought of giving a portion of the bonus and refund to the church rarely, if ever, crossed my mind.  And when it did, I quickly justified why every expenditure is okay because, well…we earned it and deserve to reward ourselves.

It’s never been easy for me to part with even a little bit of my hard-earned money. By contrast, my husband lives openhandedly – catching the blessing and almost immediately releasing it towards God’s Kingdom purposes.  He remembers where it comes from and praises God for it.  I’m learning to take my husband’s lead because I have seen up close what happens when I choose to live generously. When I intentionally think of things above, i.e. God’s priorities and plans for my life, my heart is moved to participate in his Kingdom work.  I get to see the transformed lives in real time. What a gift!

React: God’s promise to Abraham was that through him all peoples will be blessed. Do you see yourself as an extension of God’s promise – that others will be blessed through you?

Pray: Jesus, help us to think of things above and live openhanded, and generous lives.