Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cheerfully Given


Romans 12:
6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Sometimes these gifts from God listed by Paul are referred to as the "motivational gifts". The other day my attention was drawn specifically to the last one in the list.

It is not enough to follow our Lord in the dispensing of mercy. One must do it in good cheer. No long faces as the meal is shared, or the care basket delivered, or the car drive for errands offered, or the children taken off the mother's hands for a day's respite, or the visit and conversation shared with the lonely senior. We are about the King's business and it must be a joy and a privilege to have the time, health and resources to offer in service.

Charity without honest compassion or joy will prove an insult.

If we are obedient in this fashion, then the line of differentiation between giver and receiver is obliterated. The awkwardness evaporates. We are enjoying the opportunity and occasion together. The Spirit of Christ is noticeably present. "In his presence there is fullness of joy." The only thanks needed by the caregiver will be the spontaneous smile, the shifting of the dark cloud, the new insights received for further prayer, the friendship launched or sustained. We are all in this boat together.

Imagine the atmosphere of high spirits which must have surrounded the miraculous feeding of the 5000 from meager loaves and fishes. Everyone was delighted with the outcome of the day.

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