Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

in Lent

Belong & Become, Week 4, Day 26

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ACTS 2:44-45 | 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

ACTS 4:32-34 | 32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.

One of the contagious features of the early church was awe. Another was generosity. In a selfish world without charities or non-profits or social welfare, they used common resources to meet urgent needs. Now these two passages together might seem to indicate a kind of primitive communism, a society without property or individual possessions. But we must remember the actual historical situation.

The church needed pastors and teachers and missionaries and had no existing resources. Many of the 3000 converts needed food and shelter because they were pilgrims who lived elsewhere and had come for Passover. Radical generosity launched the church, regular generosity sustains it and expresses a powerful truth about our gracious God and his people.

Is generosity contagious?

Do you ever pay it forward?

 

Posted by David Joynt with
in Advent

A Manger Seen, Week 4, Day 25

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MATTHEW 2:7-11 | Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The wise men were gift givers. They brought treasure chests and gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus. Gold is still a very valuable commodity, commanding many dollars per ounce. Frankincense and myrrh are spices. In a world without currencies or banks, rare spices were a form of portable cash, since other valuable things that could be traded were bulky. Spices remained incredibly valuable, incidentally, until recently. Our continent was discovered by explorers seeking a water route to gather them from India. The wise men’s gifts were crucial for the holy family, since they had to flee into the foreign land of Egypt to escape Herod’s infanticide, and they had few resources.

Wise Christians are generous in wise ways. In particular, investments in human lives yield ongoing results that can multiply. Prayerful, powerful Kingdom-building efforts merit support. The Messiah is still saving and changing lives. The wise men never made a better investment. When it comes to resources, random acts of kindness are not enough!

Is your generosity wise?
How can you tell?
What is the best Christmas gift you have ever been given?

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