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.
The Lord said to me, “God, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods...” (Hosea 3:1)
Under God’s directive, Hosea married Gomer, a woman who sounds pretty much like a prostitute. It would be difficult to exaggerate the lowness of her status in the culture of those days, where sexual infidelity was usually punished by stoning. But, in obedience, Hosea married Gomer and began to raise a family with her. One might think that Gomer had learned her lesson and would live gratefully as Hosea’s wife for the rest of her life, but she left again and returned to the streets. The first time was bad enough. But now she had re-entered the old way of living.
Most of us—then and now—would say that Gomer deserved whatever consequences came her way. But not God. He said to Hosea, “Go show your love to your wife again, even though she is loved by another and is an adulteress.” And here’s the real message, the next line: “Go love her as the Lord loves the Israelites” (Hosea 3:1).
This is biblical love; it refuses to be scorned. It keeps going back. Who could love like that?
The love behind generous giving looks like that. The money we give does not buy loyalty, even appreciation. It does open the door of grace, and it provides the pathway by which some will discover not only relief of the body but also relief of the soul. But the end result is God’s business.
What does He ask of us? To match our money with our mercy and love—love for the “Gomers” of this world who never quite get it., but who never fall off of God’s horizon, or ours either. This is a love—a biblical love—that knows no limits.
1. Have I experienced God’s persistent, rescuing love? If so, do I still experience it daily? Why or why not?
2. Does my charitable giving bear the marks of biblical love? Is it unconditional and persistent? Or is it stingy and judgmental? What would someone conclude from looking at my life?
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.