Sunday, September 09, 2007

Finally, Back to Giving

Well, you may not remember that way back in June I posted a couple of times about giving. (For review, you can check them out here and here.)

I've written several times about my struggles with consumerism. Its rampant in our culture, and I fall prey to wanting the same things that everyone else does. There seems to be very little motivation to live any differently from the rest of the culture and very few of us live counter-culturally with great joy. I know that often times when I make decisions to live with less, I think more about the sacrifice than the benefit.

But God is not bound by our culture, and He has something to say about what we do with our resources. His Word reorients us to understanding how to see our blessings appropriately, and I think that His Word is an anchor for us when everything in us tells us to take care of #1. Remembering that the Spirit leads us in joyful giving, giving throug us, let's take a quick look at a short Old Testament passage (we'll check out a New Testament passage next week).

Genesis 12:1-3 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Simply put, we are blessed in order that we might be a blessing to others. There is a Hebrew word picture associated with this passage, and it is of a camel kneeling to receive a burden. The camel has no use for the spices, gold, and other goods that it is carrying, but its job is to take those things somewhere else for someone who needs them. Abraham is receiving blessing, but it is not for him. It is to bless others, to be given away, that all the nations will be blessed through him. Next up, the principle of equilibrium.

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