Monday, May 21, 2012

To Give But Not Receive

Genesis 14:17-24

We live in a world that sometimes speaks the message of "take what you can."  This weekend, my church finished up a period in our church calendar that we call "Heart Check."  This is a time when we are challenged to check our hearts both as individuals and as a congregation to see if what is important to our hearts is what is important to God's heart.  This is a time for us to look at how love and justice is important to God and how we as a church could be used by God to help others.  We consider how we could give back to God what already belongs to Him to give above and beyond our tithe to help others in our immediate community, the City of Buffalo, and in the world.  It is an opportunity for all of us to see that God wants us to give out to others what we have been blessed with.  Today, we will read about an opportunity that Abram had to honor God in the way he gave; please read Genesis 14:17-24.

This is a moment that happened after Abram took 318 men into battle to rescue his nephew, Lot.  He attacked at night which confused and scared the enemy and he won.  He won back all the spoils the enemy had taken away after they defeated Sodom and Gomorrah.  When he returned, the King of Sodom came to thank him but the king of Salem also came.  We are told in these verses that he was a priest of the Most High God; the God of Abram.  The interesting thing is that Salem means peace in Hebrew, so he was the King of Peace.  Many Jewish scholars believe that Salem was Jerusalem.

An unusual thing happened.  Abram gave a tithe of ten percent to Melchizedek (King of Salem) but when the king of Sodom offered to let him keep all the spoils, Abram refused.  He wisely understood that if he had kept all the spoils, there would be animosity because others would claim that he became rich because of them.  He knew that it was so much better to give to God and trust God's provision than to "owe" anything to a human.  Instead, he chose to continue keeping peace by asking that some of the share would be given to his allies.  He understood that it truly was so much better to give than to receive.  Acts 20:35 says, "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"  It is so much better to give back to others than to receive wealth from others.

How does God want you to trust His provision?  How does God want you to give back?

This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty and Monday Musings.

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