Preparation for Prayer:
Lord, grant me the wisdom to understand your generosity through the scripture provided. Open up my soul to come to know where you are at work within me and our church so that our heart begins to mirror yours. Thank you for leading, convicting, inspiring and transforming me as I yearn to follow your ways in all I do. Amen.
...Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. (Matthew 5:39-40)
Don’t hit back. Don’t hold onto what you have if someone is determined to take it from you. And don’t refuse to go a mile with a soldier if he commands you to carry his pack; in fact, go two miles. Oh, and give to one who asks you.
You can be sure that these contrasts between the Mosaic tradition and Jesus’ teaching caught peoples’ attention. By taking things to the extreme, Jesus guaranteed, first of all, that He would evoke thought and reflection on the part of his hearers. But more importantly, He was effectively getting people to think about grace, the absolute opposite of hatred and reprisal.
We thought that generous giving began with solving practical problems such as who the worthy recipients of our gifts might be. Or with the resolution of tax and other legal problems: How much can I write off? How about a private foundation? Do I want recognition for my gifts? But here, Jesus is taking us deeper.
1. When should we be generous with someone? Do we only give what we think people deserve? Or is our giving truly gracious?
After reflecting, bring your prayers and petitions to the Lord for yourself and the ministries of the church – children, student, adult, mission, worship, outreach, congregational care, the leadership, etc. Please ask our God to shower His favor and generous blessings on us so that we can generously love the church, our community and world.