Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (NIV)
As I turned off my television last Saturday night, I was nearly in tears. I had been watching the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games, held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, last week.
Wounded veterans from 17 countries, 550 of them, many here with their families, competed for a week in 12 sports, such as indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, archery, and swimming. They touched the hearts of people here and all over the world. I felt blessed by the example of their giving and their courage that the rest of us may live in peace and freedom.
What had moved me just then was the sight of a veteran from Afghanistan, with two artificial legs and an artificial arm, striding across the platform to receive, with his six comrades, an award from Prince Harry, founder of the games. The Prince, part of the British royal family, is also a veteran, having served in Afghanistan. He started the annual games as a way to help wounded veterans heal.
In his closing remarks, Prince Harry challenged everyone, "Let the examples of service and resilience that you have seen inspire you to take action to improve something big or small, in your life, for your family, or in your community. It doesn't matter how big or small your step is — just take it."
In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving this coming weekend. What a challenge to respond to the blessings that God has given us!
"Thanksgiving" is a compound of two words: "thanks" and "giving". Many Scriptures urge us to give. Today's verse also tells us that as we give, we also receive.
How do we know what to give and to where? I believe that the answer comes from the heart. When we volunteer our time, or give financially, or reach out to someone, it should involve something that truly matters to us. For me, it is animal rescue groups. I have four cats, all rescues, who enrich my life. Other concerns are fighting for justice, or helping abused women. If we do not know how to give, the Holy Spirit will direct us.
I am often moved by Luke's account of Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem.
Luke 21:1-4 – And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had." (NKJV)
Jesus is telling us that it is not how much we give, but that we do so generously. As we obey the Lord in this way, He may even surprise us with a blessing that we did not expect or seek.
Prayer: Dear Lord, open our hearts and minds, and show each of us where there is a need that we can reach out and meet. Give us the will to act, in the name of Your Son Jesus, Who gave us the supreme gift: His life. Amen.