October 22, 2021

A Virtuous Cycle

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places.
Isaiah 58:11
Our God is a generous God, supplying us with what we need—both physically and spiritually. God doesn't depend on us in any way, nor is God's providence a reward for our own good works.

And yet, we do participate in God's goodness, in God's generosity. God's promises in the middle of Isaiah 58 also refer to the idea of human justice. Wholeness is found not only in God's healing and guidance and giving, but also when humans share the gifts God has provided.

In the same way, when Paul promises the Philippians that their needs will be satisfied, he does so in the context of their own generosity. Is God re-paying them for their gifts to the Apostle Paul? No. But in their giving we get a glimpse into the grand scheme of things: We share, because of God's generosity toward us. And our sharing becomes yet another reason for others to praise the Source of all goodness. 

We all know what a vicious cycle is. But the scriptures also present to us the idea of the virtuous cycle—an intricate dance between Giver and gift and recipient that shows us the workings of God in Christ.

My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
 Philippians 4:19
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you for all the ways that you provide for me, O generous God. Help me to respond by sharing my blessings with my neighbors near and far, in Jesus' Name and for his sake.
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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