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     Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Prov. 26:6-7 (ESV)

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Cor. 9:7 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, what a contrast these Scriptures present. I wince at the first and am drawn to the second. I’ve experienced both, and have been both. My longing is to become so much freer, cheerful, and spontaneous in being generous with what you have blessed me with, Father—beginning with your mercy and grace.

How my heart needs to hear on a daily basis (even hourly)… “As you are loved, love; as you have been forgiven, forgive one another; as God has accepted, so accept others; be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” There is no more cheerful giver than you, Father. There is nothing stingy, begrudging, or miserly about you. You are lavish with your love, extravagant with your grace, and limitless with your patience.

The limits I put on being generous with your grace are too often connected to my wounds and pain. But I don’t deserve your mercy and grace any more than anyone else. Forgive and free me, Father.

The same is true when it comes to being generous with my money, time, and stuff. Biblically and theologically I affirm that everything I have comes from you, but practically and pragmatically, I can fall into the “I worked-for-it-and-therefore-it’s mine” mode. Forgive and free me, Father. I don’t want to be that stingy person who calculates loss, measures worthiness, and selfishly hoards anything.

Father, you say to us, with full-hearted measureless joy, “Eat and drink!” You give us gospel-delicacies in abundance and creature comforts galore. Indeed, you who have given us Jesus, freely give us all things (Rom. 8:32). I praise, bless, and adore you. May your grace and Spirit make me much more cheerful and generous. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ exalted and loving name.

 

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