Thursday, December 03, 2015

A good ambition to have... to aim always at doing good for others and not getting caught at it...and not giving the good we do a second thought, as if to say, "What a great person I am."

Our giving should be a reflexive response to what a great God Who loves and saves those who trust in Christ to live as human beings made in God's image, has done for us.

And it should be done as anonymously as possible, so that the beneficiaries of the good we do won't be made to feel they owe us and we won't get puffed up, failing to remember that "every good and perfect gift"--even those gifts for which we've used every ounce of our brain and brawn to earn--comes from God, not from us.

I pray that God will help me to live with such un-self-conscious gratitude and generosity.

The best Christian person I know is also the most generous person I know, who, at the very designation of "best person I know" comes at me with firm denials.

But then, you wouldn't expect a person who routinely lives with gratitude toward God and generosity toward others to be conscious of how exceptional they are.

If they were conscious of their exceptional characters, they couldn't be notable for their gratitude and generosity. In other words, if you think that you're "all that," you're clearly not.

The key, I suppose, is to keep turning to Christ in "daily repentance and renewal," giving Him carte blanche to change us from the inside out and to live in our attitudes, actions, and thoughts. (We need to become, in Martin Luther's phrase, "the Holy Spirit's workshop.") When that happens, the Holy Spirit lives more firmly in us and we fulfill the picture of gratitude and generosity Jesus paints in these words from His sermon on the mount: 
"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing..." [Matthew 6:1-3]

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