11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
In Matthew 7, Jesus gives us an analogy for how we are to understand God. He says look at your fathers. These ordinary men, though they are sinners, though they are evil to the bone, though they are limited by time, energy, and motivation, even they know how to do good and generous things for their children. Imagine then, how good your heavenly Father is at giving good gifts to His spiritual children. He loves you more than any father could, after all He sent His son to die for you. He’s not limited by time, money, or ability. Remember He’s the all-powerful creator of the universe. So when God’s children pray to Him, they understand that He will give them the absolute best, even if it’s not what they were expecting.
Jesus then turns to how we treat others. We have two reasons to treat others well. The first is the most important and is based on what Jesus was just saying: God has been and will always be so good to us. He will give us only the best. If we are so well taken care of, we have the resources and motivation to love others as we have been loved. The second reason is especially practical. It is that however, we treat others; we should also be okay with being so treated. Though none of us could say we deserve it, the best way we could ever want to be treated is how God has treated us all our lives.
If God has generously loved us, and if we desire to be treated generously, then how should we treat others? The right answer is the obvious answer; we should treat other people generously. Randy Alcorn said that as thunder follows lightning, giving follows grace. The one who has been so loved has a cup that is overflowing. The one who has been so loved is looking for opportunities to share this love and grace that has radically changed his or her life. They are able to give through their time, their treasure, their prayers. Once you have been shown God’s grace, gratitude (of course; but, that’s another book) and also generosity should be your response. And once you start looking for ways to be generous, you’ll find that there are so many ways big and small. Let’s close with this question to think about: "Is it obvious to the people who know you that God has taken such good care of you?"
Today's Generosity Challenge: Take a few minutes today and ask the Lord who needs some grace from you. Picture their face in your mind’s eye. Rehearse what you need to say to them. Is it forgiveness, love, or understanding? Write it down in your journal so you don’t forget your task. Now, set an appointment to meet with them and share what God has put in your heart. Remember to write down the date and time of your appointment and complete your journal with your observations of what the recipient said or did – and what God has shown you about His own grace for you in your comments below.