Be Generous With God's Gifts

There's extravagant power available when we're generous.

Matthew 8:1-8

1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Looking at the list of names, we see that Jesus called a wildly diverse, and perhaps, poorly credentialed, group to follow Him. We see blue-collar fishermen, Roman-collaborator tax collectors, a guerrilla freedom fighter, and others. His marching orders empowered them to do work that announced God's Kingdom. Jesus tells them "Freely you have received; freely give." Don't give your past another thought. If you are a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit can use this passage (and some related verses) to show you some truths about your identity in Christ and about your mission in Him.

1. We are beloved

"Freely you have received; freely give." At Jesus' baptism in Matthew 3:17, God the Father announces "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Jesus' own identify is grounded in the love of God. His work of announcing the Kingdom is out of love for those He tenderly calls "the lost sheep of Israel". By the way, at the end of Matthew Jesus expands this target to the whole world. 

Romans 8:15 

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

When we know we are loved by God, we are free to give good gifts in the same spirit. 

2. We are trusted

In what could seem to be a wild miscalculation on God's part, God has trusted the church to fulfill the mission of Jesus on this planet. The church is meant to intervene in the suffering in the world. Look again at the extremely diverse and problematic group Jesus chose as disciples. He knows all of your history and tendencies and still loved you and called you. In Matthew 28 Jesus has commissioned you to continue this work, going into all the world in His name, making disciples.

3. We are rulers

"...gave them authority..." In light of the corruption we see in government and leadership in the world, your first thought may be that you'll never accept authority. I encourage you to submit yourself to God and His Word and to use this authority His given you.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

You have been chosen by God to "reign in life"! Have you done that today? Use this authority to declare God's praise and to freely give away the things God has given you: love, grace, salvation, freedom, healing and encouragement. 


Reflection: What has God given you that He wants you to give away? Is there anyone He is bringing to mind right now?