Each year I ask the Lord for a theme to set a daily spiritual tone for me for the year. The Lord usually gives it to me on my retreat at the beginning of the year (see last year's theme).
This year it came at 6:40 a.m. January 25, the morning after our Friday night small group. I was sitting before the Lord in the big brown armchair in my office (note how well I coordinated my PJ's with the chair). I was thinking about Rick Warren's remarks in last night's DVD (lesson one in the new Transformation series) about how he and Kay have increased their tithe year after year (often by a percent each year). That is a challenge for me since I have always hovered around 10 to 10.5% (I think I'm going to have to trust the Lord to increase this year).
My thoughts then moved to the idea of generosity. A huge kingdom principle is "it is better to give than to get." As with all "kingdom of God" concepts, this runs counter to "kingdom of this world" ideology. As an American, I live in an accumulation nation.
The apostle Paul, when giving his final farewell to the Ephesians, spoke of his three years of labor among them while not coveting anyone's possessions and providing for his own needs. He cites the teachings of Jesus, not recorded in the Gospels, saying "it is more blessed to give than to receive."
It is so much better to give than to get.
Then I sensed from the Spirit, this is my 2014 theme. Strive for generosity in all things. With respect to people, possessions, and ministry.
This presents a double-challenge for people like me in faith-based ministry who are dependent upon the generosity of others for the needed resources to fulfill our calling. My calling gives me the opportunity to invite people, churches and businesses to consider investing in the work of God through the Visual Story Network.
Bottom Line: I must keep giving ahead of receiving in my thoughts, prayers, finances, actions, etc.