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Monday, April 10, 2017

Beyond Our Ability

April 10

(1 Kings 17:7-16 NIV) "Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. {8} Then the word of the Lord came to him: {9} "Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food." {10} So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, "Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?" {11} As she was going to get it, he called, "And bring me, please, a piece of bread." {12} "As surely as the Lord your God lives," she replied, "I don't have any bread--only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it--and die." {13} Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. {14} For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.'" {15} She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. {16} For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah."

(2 Corinthians 8:2-4 NIV) "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. {3} For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, {4} they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints."

Generous giving is a choice, and the churches in Macedonia excelled at choice giving. These Christians lived in extreme poverty, but gave as though they were wealthy. Scripture tells us that their hearts overflowed with joy, and that they begged the apostle Paul for an opportunity to give. When was the last time anyone at your church pleaded for the offering to be taken? They also gave “beyond their ability.” How is that possible? It can only happen with a people of deep faith who are willing to trust God. It can only happen with a God who provides manna from heaven, a jar of flour that is never used up, a jug of oil that does not run dry, or a few loaves and a couple of fish that end up feeding thousands. It can only happen with the multiplying God of Scripture. Faith and surrender are at the root of this kind of generosity… faith that God will provide, and surrender of all that we have. -- Friar Tuck’s Word of the Day

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