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Generosity Matters

As he was starting out on a trip, a man came running to him and knelt down and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get to heaven?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked. "Only God is truly good! But as for your question -- you know the commandments; don't kill, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, respect your father and mother."

"Teacher," the man replied, "I've never once broken a single one of those laws."

Jesus felt genuine love for this man as he looked at him. "You lack only one thing," he told him; "go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor - and you shall have treasure in heaven - and come, follow me."

Then the man's face fell, and he went sadly away, for he was very rich. Mark 10: 17-22 (TLB)

Don't forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

Hebrews 13:2 (TLB)

Neal Mays lives in Arkansas. Parts of the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas are among the poorest areas in the United States. Even so, the residents of the area are models of charitable living. As a child, Neal attended "pie suppers" to raise money for people who had fallen on hard times. These events were often attended by hundreds of people, armed with baked goods for auction and ready to pay $100 for a cake or pie. This tradition is still alive today.

Their neighbor Flora used to say, "Share, and you'll always have plenty." She was quick to help others with food, flowers, or kind words. When Flora faced tragedy of her own, she became the recipient of the community's love and generosity.

God puts people in our lives who help us do God's will. When Neal was young, the people in the area, along with his parents and grandparents, taught him the importance of caring for others. Today Neal's wife reminds him to slow down and look for ways to help others. She has an ability to notice needs that Neal tends to overlook. He is thankful that she finds meaningful opportunities to share with others the blessings God has provided them. Now she is teaching their children a deeper understanding of the truth that "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us today to recognize needs we can meet for others, and give us a desire to do so, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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