Daily Devotion 23 December 2020

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 9: 6-8 ‘The Lord Gives Abundantly’

6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.

On a winter’s walk recently, I noticed this odd scenario. A field seemingly divided in two: the sheep on the left having a whale of a time munching deeply the abundance of lush greenery beneath their feet. Presumably they had polished off the right-hand side of the field quite thoroughly! Even more presumably, the two sheep standing on the muddy brown earth are just taking a breather before launching into dessert back on the other side! More food than even these sheep could eat in a year I reckon!

Paul wrote these words above to the church at Corinth very specifically writing about how the people should approach gifts, giving, charity and sharing. Theologically he underpins their day to day living with this sense of God loving those who give – and blessing those who give always with more – more opportunities to give, more to give with even.

Paul’s words are good for us to hear in this season: they remind us that those of us who are fortunate to have ‘in abundance’ are called by God to share, to give, to make good use what we have. He also reminds us that guilt here can be prohibitive – ‘a cheerful giver’ is loved by God: guilt over gifts/giving is more likely to stifle charity rather than living in joyful thanksgiving. Paul concludes by acknowledging all this comes from God: the gifts we have, the impulse to give, the grace that is at the heart of the love of God: ‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’ (9:15). So, whether this Christmas you are giving, receiving – and I sincerely hope both in good measure! – perhaps the joy inherent in both will be the greater for us if we attribute to God all the good gifts of our world. And indeed, ‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’ – the gift of Jesus Christ to the world, who shows us all the meaning of abundant grace.

Prayer:

Generous, life-giving God, for all that you have given in the past,
for all that you give us now, and for all that you promise for the future, we thank you.
For the richness of the life of faith, for all we have experienced of your goodness,
for your generosity and your faithfulness, we thank you.
For all the signs of the kingdom that we have known,
for the times you confound our expectations
and lead us as your people into new pathways, we thank you.
May we continue to discover your truth, walk in your way and live your life. Amen.

Reflection and Image © 2020 Paul Tabraham.
Prayer adapted from © 2002-2020, ROOTS for Churches Ltd.
A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356