This time of year we are inundated with requests and pleas for donations. They call on the phone, they mail us fliers, they approach us in public places. All these overwhelming requests can turn anyone cold towards helping others…to the point of thinking, ” I can’t give, I can hardly get by with what I have!” Paul addressed this in II Corinthians 8:2 – where he explained even though the Church in Macedonia was going through severe trials and extreme poverty, their joy of the Lord overflowed and welled up into rich generosity towards others. God has proven over and over again that you can’t out give Him. So allow joy and thankfulness to fill your heart this Holiday Season as you give generously to others…not out of your lack, but out of His riches.
Earlier in this chapter Paul asks the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) His answer here is – no one or thing can possibly come between us and Jesus. No rule or force of man…no point in time…no act of good or evil can ever cut the tie we have with our Lord. The bottom line is, there is nothing in creation that can keep us apart from God…for the entirety of creation is under His authority.
We look at the chaos today and we think the world is totally out of control. But Proverbs 21:1 reminds us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” Pharaoh foolishly thought he was the most powerful man in the world…arrogantly thinking that no one could usurp his authority. But Pharaoh wasn’t aware that the Lord was directing him and that he was just a pawn in God’s bigger picture. For God tells Moses in Exodus 7:3, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart…” And in Romans 9: 17 Paul goes on to explain, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘ I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ ” So as we see the turmoil around us, we need to remember that the mighty hand of the Lord hasn’t changed…He still rules and reigns over all…He’s still in control.
What would have happened to humankind if God had felt Jesus was exempt? Without the tremendous sacrifice, on the part of both God and Jesus Christ, we would be lost in our sins. The willingness of God to hand over Son on our behalf can be found in one of the Bible’s most recognizable scriptures, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” ( John 3:16-17) God may have not wanted to hand Jesus over…Jesus may have not wanted to go through the horrible torture and crucifixion on the Cross…but They did…and in the process, saved your soul from hell.
Take a moment to re-read the scripture above and allow it to sink in. If God is for you…what can possibly oppose you? If the Lord is over you, coming to your defense, protecting you, helping and comforting you in times of trouble…what evil can stand before Him? Isaiah 41:10 states, “So do not fear, for I am with you…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God is greater than any of your fears today…and greater than the evil in this world.
The Law of Moses can be summarized or distilled into one commandment…Love your neighbor as yourself. But in this modern technological age, our neighbor isn’t just someone living near us anymore. Our neighbor can be anyone around the globe that’s in peril and needing assistance. For to love your neighbor like yourself is to simply show appreciation and respect to others…no matter where they live.
Do you have an attitude of gratitude towards God? Is your perspective colored by thankfulness for what the Lord has done in your life? It’s then you fully realize the compassion and love God has lavished on you… and that you have been called and set apart for His work. For out of that profound gratitude will come a desire to serve and to live a life worthy of the calling. (Eph. 4:1)