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"'Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bank robbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. The place where your treasure is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.'" Luke 12:33,34 (The Message).
God's economic system hits at the core of our fallen nature. As long as we are ensnared in the dominion of darkness, our disposition will be one of greed driven by selfishness. However, Jesus' work on the cross sets us free from the one thing that will destroy us as surely as night follows day.
The Apostle Paul has given us another principle that appears to be a paradox. He said,"...Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12b,13. You work out...God works in. Once again Paul declares that God works through our choices to perfect His work of grace in us.
The potential to be generous is the spontaneous outcome of salvation but we have to turn that potential into action. Both Jesus and Paul tell us, "Now work it out." That is the miracle of what Jesus has done for us. Sin shackled us to a nature that has endless potential for greed and wickedness but, when we were transferred from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of light, we were freed from that potential and released into a new potential. "Be imitators of God as dearly loved children..." Ephesians 4:1(NIV). There it is again, the family environment in which we are freed to develop our new nature in God.
Jesus urges us, "Now get on and become what you are." Developing our generous nature has huge potential - firstly of imitating our Father and secondly, of growing our assets in an infallible banking system.
This has far greater significance that we can imagine. According to Jesus, eternal life is 'knowing' God and 'knowing' Him, Jesus, (John 17:3), but what does it mean to 'know' God? Strangely enough, we find the clue to knowing God in the Old Testament. Jeremiah was talking about Shallum, Josiah's son, who succeeded him as king of Judah. He had been taken captive to Babylon. What was his crime?
"'Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labour...does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father (Josiah) have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?' declares the Lord?" Jeremiah 22:13,15,16 (NIV).
We will develop an intimate knowledge of God by doing what He does. Growing our potential, then, means using every opportunity we can to be generous givers, The more generous we are, the more revelation we will have of who God really is, and the more we will experience intimacy with Him. And, after all, that's where He is heading - leading us into oneness with Him - the essence of our marriage with Him at the end of time!
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