This is Week 7 (the final week) of our Generosity Series. Need to start at the beginning? Read the Introduction here.
ATTENTION: Monday's devotions will be put on hold for the Advent season This will be our last Monday Morning Devotion until 2017. But, don't fear! Starting on Sunday, we will have daily devotions to guide you through the 4 weeks of preparation and reflection leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Be sure to sign up to get them by email each morning - you won't want to miss any!
(And while your at it, make sure you are signed up for the Monday Devotions, too!)
If you've been a Christian for any amount of time, you can probably recite Jeremiah 29:11:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
It's an encouraging verse used often when life gets hard. But what is this plan? What is our future?
Jeremiah is speaking to the Jews who are in the midst of the great Babylonian exile. Their king had just revolted against King Nebuchadnezzar and failed, leading to the exile and the complete destruction of Jerusalem.
Is God guaranteeing that the Jews will live happily ever after? Looking back on history, we know that this isn't the case.
Yes, God did eventually bring His people back to Judah and those people rebuilt the Temple. But as Jeremiah continues, we see that God's great plan was bigger than they could understand. God's great plan was His new covenant with us, His great promise, to send a Savior.
And who will be saved by this New Covenant? John says:
There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9)
Lesson #6: Our generosity is based on our faith and our desire to make sure we will stand side-by-side before the throne with "every nation, tribe, people, and language."
This is precisely why organizations like Lutheran Indian Ministries exist, to include every nation and every tribe in the Kingdom of God. We are called to be witnesses of the faith, not only in the remote corners of the world but also in our own neighborhoods and the surrounding areas.
God's great plan "for hope and a future" is for all people, but His Kingdom is short on Natives.
As we enter into the season of Advent, and we reflect on the great gift God has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ, let us remember that this gift was meant to be shared.
I pray that our generosity would reflect that of our most generous God.