The Year of Generosity

I thought these notes by CH Makintosh, in his  book “Notes on Deuteronomy” outline some good reasons for making loving and generosity our aim as he shares about the generous seventh year :

“We see a lovely pledge and foreshadowing of all this in the seventh year. It was “the  Lord’s release.” and therefore its blessed influence was to be felt by every poor debtor from Dan to Beersheba. Jehovah would grant unto His people the high and holy privilege of having fellowship with Him in causing the debtor’s heart to sing for joy. He would teach them, if they would only learn, the deep blessedness of frankly forgiving all. This is what He Himself delights in, blessed forever be His great and glorious name.”

“But alas! the poor human heart is not up to this lovely mark. It is not fully prepared to tread this heavenly road. It is sadly cramped and hindered, by a low and miserable selfishness, in grasping and carrying out the divine principle of grace. It is not quite at home in this heavenly atmosphere; it is but ill-prepared for being the vessel and channel of that royal grace which shines so brightly in all the ways of God. This will only too fully account for the cautionary clauses of the following passage.”

“If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates, in thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother; but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.”

“Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou giveth him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou giveth unto him; because that for this thing the Lord shall bless thee in all thy works, and all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of thy land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land(Chapter l5: 7-11)”

“Here the deep springs of the poor selfish heart are discovered and judged. There is nothing like grace for making manifest the hidden roots of evil in the human nature. Man must be renewed in the very deepest springs of his moral being ere he can be the vehicle of divine love; and even those who are thus through grace renewed, have to watch continually against the hideous forms of selfishness in which our fallen nature clothes itself. Nothing but grace can keep the heart open wide to every form of human need.”

“We must abide hard by the fountain of heavenly love if we would be channels of blessing in the midst of a scene of misery and desolation like that which in which our lot is cast.” “How lovely are those words, “Thou shalt open thine hand wide”! They breathe the very air of heaven. An open heart and a wide hand are like God. “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver,” because that is precisely what He is Himself. “He giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not.” “And He would grant unto us the rare and most exquisite privilege of being imitators of Him. Marvelous grace! The very thought of it fills the heart with wonder, love, and praise. We are not only saved by grace, but we stand in grace, live under the blessed reign of grace, breathe the very atmosphere of grace, and are called to be the living exponents of grace, not only to our brethren, but to the whole human family. “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them which are of the household of faith.”

“Christian reader, let us diligently apply our hearts to all this divine instruction. It is most precious; but its real preciousness can only be tasted in the practical carrying out of it. We are surrounded by ten thousand forms of human misery, human sorrow, human need. There are broken hearts, crushed spirits, desolate homes, around us on every side. The widow, the orphan, and the stranger meet us daily in our walks. How do we carry ourselves in reference to all these?”

“Are we hardening our hearts and closing our hands against them? or are we seeking to act in the lovely spirit of “the Lord’s release’? We must bear in mind that we are called to be reflectors of the divine nature and character—to be direct channels of communication between our Father’s loving heart and every form of human need. We are not to live for ourselves; to do so is a most miserable denial of every feature and principle of that morally glorious Christianity which we profess.”

“It is our high and holy privilege, yea, it is our special mission, to shed around us the blessed light of that heaven to which we belong. Wherever we are—in the family, in the field, in the mart or the manufactory, in the shop or in the counting-house, all who come in contact with us should see the grace of Jesus shine out in our ways, our words, our very looks. And then, if any object of need come before us, if we can do nothing more, we should drop a soothing word into the ear, or shed a tear or heave a sigh of genuine, heart-felt sympathy.”

“Reader, is it thus with us? Are we so living near the fountain of divine love, and so breathing the very air of heaven, that the blessed fragrance of these things shall be diffused around us? or are we displaying the odious selfishness of nature, the unholy tempers and dispositions of our fallen and corrupt humanity?”

“What an unsightly object is a selfish Christian! He is a standing contradiction, a living, moving lie. The Christianity which he professes throws into dark and terrible relief the unholy selfishness which governs his heart and comes out in his life.”

“The Lord grant that all who prof ess and call themselves Christians may so carry themselves, in daily life, as to be an unblotted epistle of Christ, known and read of all men. In this way, infidelity will, at least, be deprived of one of its weightiest arguments, its gravest objections. Nothing affords a stronger plea to the infidel than the inconsistent lives of professing Christians.”

“Not that such a plea will stand for a moment, or even be urged, before the judgment-seat of Christ, inasmuch as each one who has within his reach a copy of the holy Scriptures will be judged by the light of those Scriptures, even thought there were not a single consistent Christian on the face of the earth. Nevertheless, Christians are solemnly responsible to let their light so shine before men that they may see their good works and glorify our

Father in heaven. We are solemnly bound to exhibit and illustrate in daily life the heavenly principles unfolded in the Word of God. We should leave the infidel without a shred of a plea or an argument; we are responsible so to do.”

“May we lay these things to heart, and then we shall have occasion to bless God for our meditation on the delightful institution of “the Lord’s release.

Global Nomad

04 September 2008

Generosity of Hope

Years back, folks had given the land along the railroad tracks (worthless for development) to Mother Teresa, and she began caring for lepers. Then they began to care for one another. Now there were over 150 families, teaching one another “thank you.”

They grew their own vegetables, raised animals and fish. They made their own shoes. They sewed their own clothes. And they made saris for all the Sisters, blankets for the orphanages, and bandages for a medical clinic there in the colony. The clinic was run by lepers who had been treated and now cared for others. They even made their own prosthetic arms and legs out of wood for those who underwent amputation. [Taken from Irrestible Revolution……..]

Global Nomad

01 September 2008