Moving Toward Generosity

by | October 20, 2016

That generosity is grounded in gratitude is a tenet of Horizons Stewardship’s theology and the basis for our work. But where do we start? Where do we begin the journey toward a generous life?

Psalm 121 says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth…” As one who was born in the flatlands of central Indiana, I have contemplated what the Psalmist meant by, “I lift up my eyes to the hills…” I know people who find incredible inspiration in the hills and mountains around them. Of course, some people in the nation of Israel, to whom the Psalmist first directed these words, lived in terrain that included “hills.” But was the writer really referring to physical hills? I suggest the writer may have been encouraging readers to look to the “spiritual hills and mountains” in their relationships with God. For the people of Israel, this would be times like the Exodus (God delivering them from slavery in Egypt), receiving the Ten Commandments, and receiving the Promised Land. For early Christians, it might have been the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross or the promise of resurrection at the empty tomb.

For us, when we struggle with depression, when we battle difficult circumstances, or when we wrestle with painful decisions, it is helpful to recall those times during which we felt God’s presence and power in our lives. Of course, these will be different for each of us. Take a moment now to reflect on a “high moment” in your journey of faith. Grab ahold of it and contemplate God’s goodness toward you.

So where’s the connection to generosity? When you begin to contemplate “gratitude,” take some time to reflect on some of those “spiritual hills and mountains.” As a church pastor, I invited church staff members to share some of the “spiritual hills and mountains” in their lives. All of us shared and celebrated experiences and times in our spiritual journeys when we felt profoundly touched by the Lord. One person shared how a young child looked up at her during a worship service, when the pastor had invited people to go to the altar for prayer. The child asked, “Would you go with me to the altar to pray?” The child’s mother was on the other side of her, but this little one chose my friend to participate with her in a time of prayer. My friend will never forget…never forget that moment of privilege. That experience fills her heart with gratitude.

As you seek ways to celebrate God’s generosity in your life, take a few moments to reflect on the “spiritual hills and mountains” when God has blessed you…and be grateful! Allow gratitude to nurture your journey toward generosity.

                                                  

Image:  “O’Malley Peak, Alaska” by Paxson Woelber is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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