YouVersion has an excellent selection of scripture reading plans. I’ve used a few of them in my time with the Lord and it has been really good for me. Currently, I’m reading through a selection of verses on the topic of biblical generosity.
My first observation when I began reading was that the verses didn’t seem to be directly about generosity, or at least how I was expecting them. Instead, they catalogued references to God’s generosity towards us. As I thought about this, I realized how important that is; if we first grasp the generous love that God has towards us, then responding in generous love comes about more naturally, and not as an obligation. We serve a God who is stunningly benevolent towards us. Take a moment to be reflect on what God has blessed your life with and let Him move you.
The body of believers I gather with regularly has been talking about how God is a reaching, restoring and reproducing God. Recent conversations have revolved around the restoring aspect as it relates to local and global injustice. This caught my attention this morning as I read about generosity and the scripture repeatedly referred to ways that God is just and how He thinks about our behavior towards those in need. It became very obvious that this is important to God and that our stance on injustice has something to do with our understanding of generosity.
A discussion last night uncovered a definition of injustice that makes sense to me: Injustice is what makes you say to yourself, “That is not right.” For me, some of those things are single-moms struggling to make ends meet and no one to fight for them; children in verbally, physically or emotionally abusive homes; an elderly man spending the last 20 years of his life alone, while he lives in a suburban home on a street where Christ-followers live; a woman feeling as if her only way to be noticed is to wear low-cut shirts and hang out at the bars, or come dangerously close to death by overdosing, cutting or eating. These things make me cringe and cry out inside, “That is not right!”
Originally, I thought that injustice was only starving babies on distant continents or dictators exerting harsh and oppressive control — that is injustice and it must end. Yet, I’m discovering that not all injustice is out of our reach. Most of it is next door or across the street.
A generous kind of people is one that has encountered the restoring love of God and invites others to be swept away in God’s redemptive stream of life. I long for the label of “Christian” or “Christ-follower” be one that stirs pictures of people who are actively involved in writing a story marked by making right the things that are “just not right” and seeing the Kingdom of God come in fullness.
Parting thought: If you were to take a step toward removing the barriers that keep you from a just lifestyle, what would that barrier be? If you were to make one decision that advances the Kingdom in relation to injustice or invites others to join with you, what would that decision be?
In short: What is holding you back? How are you moving forward?