Summary: Jesus, Grace, Thanksgiving
CULTIVATING A GENEROUS HEART - Thanks Be To God For His Indescribable Gift
2 Corinthians 9:15 (p. 807) July 30, 2017
My grandfather, Arthur Bach was born in the mountains of Eastern, KY in Breathitt County…He and his 3 brothers all became doctors…Dr. Bach came to Lexington about 90 years ago…He loved people and he loved caring for them as a physician…but he also loved farming. He bought 300 acres here in what we now know as Gardenside. The original farmhouse is still on the corner of Traveller and Parkers Mill.
My Grandfather died before I could meet him…He was only 59 when he had surgery for an ulcer and an aneurism burst. Sammy, my brother was only 2. But he had prepared to take care of my Mema, his four daughters (one of which was a special needs daughter). He left resources to pay for all his children’s first house.
As the farm had to be sold my parents were given the 3 acres and the house they would build on the Lane that ran down his farm. How amazing is that gift? Every time I mow it or plant tomatoes on it, I think I’m taking care of land my grandfather farmed. It does something to my soul to connect me to my grandfather…when I get to heaven I want to see Jesus first, then my dad, but Dr. Bach will be third…(I’m pretty sure he’ll be with my Mema).
So let me ask you how would you feel if one day somebody walked into your house, sat down with you and your family, picked up your mortgage papers and said, “I’ve paid this off for you…your mortgage is “Paid in full.”
Would you shout for joy? Run around the living room screaming like a lunatic? Kiss them on the lips. Yes! Yes! and Yes!
On the 4th of July this year in West Palm Beach Florida….Corporal Michael Leslie and his wife had this happen.
I watch this young man overcome with emotion…Gratitude and thankfulness simply pour from his heart for this indescribable gift. A weight has been lifted…Hope has been restored.
I believe this is exactly why the Apostle Paul ends this section of scripture in 2 Corinthians 9 with the words…THANKS be to God for His indescribable gift…because the truth is:
I. A GRATEFUL HEART IS A GIVING HEART
Remember Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to fulfill their earlier commitment to help hurting people with their giving…and now the time has come for the Corinthians to “put their money where their mouth is.” And he wants the Corinthians to consider God’s gift to them as they consider their gift to others.
I think Jesus had this same thought in mind when in the house of a Pharisee named Simon…all of a sudden a woman interrupts the dinner party…a woman with a sinful past. She brings a jar of perfume and many tears…while Jesus is at the table she breaks the bottle of perfume and pours it on his feet. It mingles with her tears and she wipes his feet clean with her hair…HER HAIR!!!
Simon the Pharisee watches this and says to himself “If Jesus were really a prophet he’d know what kind of trash this woman whose touching him is!” “She’s a sinner!”
Jesus then says, “Simon I’ve got something to tell you.” Simon says, “Tell me teacher.” Listen to what Jesus tells Simon:
LUKE 7:41-50 (p. 721)
Two people…one knows she’s a sinner…the other doesn’t believe he is…One loves a lot…one is stingy with his love.
Jesus makes it clear “I tell you her many sins have been forgiven as her great love has show. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Funny how we make the sins of pride, greed, and haughtiness so much less than other sins, huh?
Serious question folks…who was in more danger of hell…Simon or the woman?
Gratitude and pride cannot co-exist in the same heart.
No wonder God’s Word commands us “Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Everything you do…that’s an all inclusive statement. A Christ follower continually visits the cross…daily. Communion is a weekly reminder of God’s grace and His indescribable gift…but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember that 17 years old rebellious pothead…who selfishly used and hurt others. I know I’m forgiven, but I remember the pig sty every single day. I know the Apostle Paul remembered holding the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen. I know he remembered the heart that breathed out hate and threats as he persecuted the church of Christ.
It’s the very reason Paul told the Corinthians:
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-11 (p. 795)
Quite a list, huh? I’m sure the Corinthians couldn’t forget “that’s what some of them had been” until Jesus washed away their sins, set them apart for His Kingdom, and filled them with His Spirit…How’s that for an indescribable gift?