My God is Good and a Giver

One issue that has always struck me when reading the OT and historical religious practices are what gods demand of their worshipers.  The lore concerning less demanding ones required daily gifts/candles/guarding/etc.  The lore concerning more severe ones included mutilation, heinous sexual acts, and even human sacrifices (Molech requiring your first born child by fire as a sign of your gratitude for being fertile).  I typically have this subjective thought- really? Why would I want to be a part of that?

Though time has changed, mankind hasn't in this aspect.  Today's world is filled with religions/cults that are demanding and severe.  I find myself left with the same thought.

But could the same accusation be made against Christianity?  Is Jesus a "harsh God"?  Are His demands "severe"?  It depends upon perspective.  Much of what Jesus called us to goes against our natural desire.  The Bible informs us that it seems unnatural to us because we are tainted by sin....we are errant in our thoughts and desires.  So His commands, demands, and expectations of those who claim to be His followers seem counter-intuitive.  Yet, if we examine what He calls us to and away from, our view goes from "severe/demanding God" to "good/giving God". 

What Christ taught, expects, and demands from His followers spring from His enabling (grace) to accomplish His desire in our lives.  His desire produces spiritual living according to the heavenly realm.  His desire accomplishes eternal change.  So that which is taught, expected, and even demanded is that which is eternally beneficial and spiritually best. One such subject matter is the issue of giving.  Christ spoke about giving sacrificially (widow's mite), about it revealing where our heart is (what we treasure), and demonstrating who we trust (worrying about physical provision).  His whole human existence demonstrated that He is a giver!

As we go through and conclude our Mission Conference, we've been challenged about our heart and God's heart for others.  Last week we were reminded that giving is taught, expected, and commanded for Jesus' followers. Giving sends the Gospel where we cannot physically go ourselves.  As we heard clearly last Sunday evening from 2 Cor. 8:1-7, it is God's will for us to give for the Gospel's furtherance. (  

So with the Missions Conference coming to a close on Sunday and calling us to deny self with our finances in order to give to missions, let us seize our window!  It is urgent, commanded, but also an undeserved privilege.  Our God is a giver and shares that ability with us!

We have His grace.  We have a window.  We can be faithful!

-Pastor Paul