Friday October 13, 2023 From Practicing Extravagant Generosity: Daily Readings on the Grace of Giving
The God-related Life “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” — Mark 10:25, NIV
We cannot “pay” our way to a closer relationship with God; whether giving aids us in our relationship with God or not depends upon our inner attitude. However, an unrestrained appetite for wealth or clinging too tightly to what we possess can hold us back and cause us paralysis in our following of Christ.
Scripture reminds us that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10), and “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25, NIV). The rich young ruler cannot relinquish his wealth and so he forfeits life with Christ (Luke 18:18-25), the farmer builds bigger barns to store his possessions while avoiding eternal priorities and he loses his soul (12:16-21), the wealthy person ignores the sufferings of Lazarus at his doorstep and finds himself separated from God (16:19-31), the servant buries his talents instead of using them for his master and receives condemnation (19:12-26), and Ananias and Sapphira perish for their deceit that was motivated by their desire to keep their money (Acts 5:1-10).
Our clinging and coveting and hungering for wealth can obstruct our pathway to God and to the life God would have us enjoy. When unrestrained desire for material riches occupies the soul, there is little room left for God. Like Paul’s assistant, Demas, we fall too much “in love with this present world,” and we abandon Jesus’ mission (2 Timothy 4:10). Greed impedes growth in Christ.
On the other hand, by giving generously, our beliefs and trust in God rise to tangible form. We become doers of the word and not hearers only. Giving makes following God real. We can live a God-related life or we can live without attention to God’s presence and will. The God-related life means our relationship with God influences all we do. When we seek to do the things God would have us do, including giving, our practice intensifies our love for the things God loves. Then the material possessions that can serve as a distraction or impediment to following Christ become an instrument for our serving Christ. Our material goods, consecrated to God, nourish our desire to serve God. Generosity feeds our love for God.