Daily Devotion 08 January 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 12 ‘Grace and Giving’

1  We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2 for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4 begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints.

12 If the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have.

On my birthday once when my daughters were quite small they brought me a cup of tea in bed. They hastened to assure me that they’d been very careful and had switched the kettle off as soon as it started to get warm, so they didn’t burn themselves! I drank that cup of tea as if it were the best drink I’d ever had – and in an important way, it was. On the one hand, there’s no denying that it tasted horrible, but on the other, it was so lovely for me that my daughters had carefully planned a special treat for me.

I believe that, in the same way, God delights in our gifts to him, no matter how simple or how imperfect they are. In the final verse of the passage above, St Paul writing to the Corinthians, says, “ If the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has – not according to what one does not have”. God has given us so much, we can never be without something to give back to him and here are five things we can give every day.

We can give our gifts of the Spirit, things like the gift of encouragement, which empower us to be a blessing to others. We can give our talents, something we’re skilled in and good at, like music or baking or art, or finance, or organization, talents which God has given us so that we can return them to him, using them for his glory.

Time is very precious. God gives us 168 hours each week, asking us to use them wisely and steward them faithfully. We can give that time back to God, and prayerfully make each hour count. We can give our energy to God – each of us will have a ‘best’ time of day, first thing in the morning, perhaps, or late afternoon. We can plan our day so that we give God the best of our energy.

God gives us all these things, spiritual gifts, talents, time and energy, and all of them we should give back to him. He also gives us enthusiasm. He makes each of us feel passionately about certain issues or ideas. We can all find ways to use our God-given enthusiasms to bless others and to glorify God.

Prayer:

Generous and giving God,
at the beginning of this new year
make us think more of what we can give to life
and less of what we can get out of it.
May we always be aware that we hold
our gifts, our talents, our possessions, our life itself,
in trust for you and for the service of others.
Save us from thinking only of our own needs and desires;
and help us to remember what Jesus taught us:
that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
In his name we pray. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Ann Caffyn.
Image freely available online.

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