You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. Exodus 22:29

For nearly 10 years now, a buddy and I have been meeting at a local coffee shop at a set time each week for an accountability group. The reason we meet it to share life’s struggles and successes and to encourage each other in our pursuit of God’s will for our lives. We meet at a coffee shop though, to drink coffee. I love coffee and every week, we run a tab for those guys whom we’ve invited to meet with us. We all get our coffee before and then my buddy or I pay after. For the last year or so though, something peculiar has been happening. Whenever we go to pay, there’s a mysterious envelope behind the counter with money in it, to pay for our coffee. The staff won’t tell me who’s doing it, but someone has been secretly funding our coffee group. Someone has sacrificed of their own money, so that we may be blessed by their generosity. I don’t know who it is, but I’m grateful.

Generosity. That’s the message of today’s passage. In it, God provided a laundry list of rules to govern the Israelite’s way of life. In today’s verse, he instructed them to give something back. As God had blessed and provided for them, they were to generously return some of that blessing. When they understood that everything they possessed had from God in the first place, they would find it no hardship to give something back. To refuse to give, would be selfish and ungrateful.

I must remember that God asks the same of me. As God has blessed me, I must realize that everything I have has been given by him. He can give and he can take away. When I keep this in mind, I find it easier to return some of that blessing to him for his purposes. Does God need my money? Not likely. Do I need to give though, for my own spiritual health? Absolutely. In being generous, I show my gratitude to God. In giving, I turn my life away from self and towards God and others. An obedient life is a generous, joyful life. A selfish life is a miserable life. As God has loved me, I must love others. As God has given to me, I must give to others. In doing so, I reap the blessings of being obedient to God.

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