The Gateways of Generosity & Gratefulness
Generosity and gratefulness are two gateways for us to experience the promises of God in our lives and in our church.
Scripture Reading: Mark 14:1-11 (Also Acts 10:2-3; Psalm 100:4; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11)
Mary of Bethany was overwhelmed. How could she have ever doubted this man who did not heal her brother– instead, he raised him from the dead! She took her most valuable possession, one that was inherited and was being saved for a dowry or a rainy day. It was costly perfume, one that one would equal an average person’s annual income. She took it and poured it over Jesus, much to the consternation of those present. When criticized, Jesus rebuked them saying that wherever the gospel was preached throughout history, this event would be retold!
WHY? Because Mary’s act demonstrated two of the most important aspects to experiencing an open heaven here on earth: gratitude and generosity. Psalm 100:4 tells us that we “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise!” Malachi reminded the restored Israelites who were wanting to experience the previous glory their forefathers had known under God’s continuous blessing were exhorted to “bring their tithes to the storehouse” so that God could “open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing” that they would be unable to contain (3:10-12).
It is not unusual for there to be vast numbers of believers within the church who find themselves longing for more of God’s presence– an open heaven over their lives! But too many are not aware of the keys that open the gateways to God’s promises becoming real in their own experience. What about you? Do you have “an attitude of gratitude” toward God and those He’s placed around you, or are you a spoiled child who’s neglected what the Father has given reciting to Him what you have yet to receive? Are you one who cheerfully gives back a portion of what the Father has given to you as an expression of that gratitude? Do you share freely what your Father has given to you with others, knowing that He has more than enough resource to care for you, even if you give it all away? Do you hold tightly with what you have, fearful that there will not be enough– fearful that your heavenly Father would let you live in constant need? We talk about our faith being solely through faith, but faith is expressed actively through these two essential qualities.
The early church was made up primarily of Jews. Even though Jesus had ministered to the Samaritan woman and other gentiles and had commissioned the disciples to take the gospel to all the nations of the earth, there were several years where the good news stayed in Jerusalem among believing Jews. But God’s Spirit began to move on the apostles– specifically Peter. Even though Peter had been used by the Spirit, he still had a reluctance to associate with Gentiles, so God gave him a powerful vision that opened him to sharing this message of salvation with a specific gentile God was determined to bring salvation to. Who was this man? Cornelius, a man described as generous and prayerful. When God was ready for this “breakout of the gospel to the gentiles,” He chose a man who was both generous and grateful! On the opposite end of the spectrum, Paul describes In Romans 1:21 those become spiritually void because they knew there was a God but “refused to worship Him and be thankful.”
Today’s prophets tell us there is a release coming to the church again– a harvest of souls such as we have never seen before! Do you have the keys of gratitude and generosity to open that door into your life?
- What would be your definition of gratitude? What would be the opposite of your definition of gratitude? How can gratitude be more openly expressed in daily living?
- Who is a generous person that you know? What distinctives do you see in him or her that express that generosity? Would you need to do anything different to be like that?
- What would a church of openly grateful and generous people look like? Would you be willing to pray that picture until it became reality in your church? Would you initiate that picture, starting today?
Declaration: As you pray today, make the following declaration…
I am grateful to God and to others for what they have invested into my life to make me who I am now! I choose to express my gratitude to everyone who encounters me today. Because I have a generous God as my source, I will look for opportunities today to bless others today with my resources! The gates of heaven are open to me and through me because the Jesus in me is both grateful and generous!