• Jon Forrest

generosity began with god

The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

Generosity Began with God



One of my favorite movies from my childhood was the 1965 classic Shenandoah which takes place at the beginning of the American civil war. James Stewart portrayed the family patriarch and widower named Charlie Anderson who owned a successful southern plantation which had always been run without the use of slaves. Anderson who lives in the south, but does not believe in slavery, but also does not believe in war tries, unsuccessfully, to guard his family from the war. Anderson, who is not a follower of Christ, but had dearly loved his wife, was trying to maintain Christian traditions for the family fulfilling her dying request. That was why the family went to church and why Anderson always prayed at the dinner table. However, the words of his prayer gave away his true belief…


“Lord, we cleared this land, we plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it. It wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you just the same anyway for this food we are about to eat. Amen”


We may not pray the way Stewart’s character did, but often times we live that way. We live as if everything we have is ours because of what we have done and belongs to only us for our own use and purposes. We tend to think, “It’s mine! All mine!”


Deuteronomy 8:17-18 sums it up along with the way God sees it. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.


Charlie Anderson did not realize that his land, his physical strength, his family, the weather, the quality of the soil, everything he knew about farming and many other factors that had made him successful in his farming, had been provided by God. Without God, he would have nothing. He had been blessed more than he could ever deserve.


As the plot of the movie thickens, Charlie learns that in spite of his all-out defiance against the war, his family is devastated by its impact. Finally, his youngest son, the one who reminds him most of the love of his wife, is kidnapped, bringing him to his knees. When it seems that all is lost, Charlie and what is left of his family have gone to church. As the service begins, the son, he thought was dead, comes through the church doors limping with a crutch. When he comes to his family’s row, Charlie falls apart weeping. At the conclusion, Charlie became a believer and finally realized what his wife had always known, that everything he had, came from God by his mercy and grace.


This Sunday the FCC family will begin a season of study, devotion and prayer concerning a program called “Seven Keys to OPEN-HANDED LIVING in a TIGHT-FISTED WORLD or How to Transform Your Life and Change the World for the Glory of God. The program was designed by Pastor Brian Kluth, who authored a 30-Day Devotional Guide by this title. We will distribute the guides at this Sunday morning’s service. These guides will also be used in our Wednesday evening programs for discussion. Also available is a free app for your phone that also carries with it the devotionals. You can download this app by going to your app provider and typing in the word

thankfulgiving.

Our morning messages will help tie together this theme with a series titled Generous Giving. Part 1 is Generous Giving allows you to see God as your provider based mostly on Deuteronomy 8:17-18; 1 Chronicles 29:14-17; Matthew 6:24. Please pray for this campaign which will run from March 8 through April 5. Pray for our church family and for yourself that the Holy Spirit will move dynamically in our hearts and cause us to be more generous than we have ever been.


When we contemplate our own generosity, we should never compare it with others. We should only compare it with how generous God has been to us, beginning with the sacrifice of his only begotten Son, who died for us to give us eternal life in him.


]Praying for generosity,

Jon

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