I learned the power and value of generosity through people being generous in my life. When I was going through college, there was a time where I was failing academically but there was a group of older brothers that took me under their wings. This was also the time where I had the mind-breaking revelation that I was not saved but played “church” all my life. I still remember the time when I was waiting to meet up with one of these brothers for lunch and he was coming from a distance with something in his hand. When he got close, he handed me a book and I was wondering what it was but when I looked at the cover, it was a John Macarthur study bible! This was totally random and I was taken aback because he took the time and money to buy me an expensive Bible for me! This was an action sourced from love and the grace of God in his life that I will not forget. That year was one of the defining moments in my life where these brothers were generous and gracious with their time, energy, and money for a young man who was struggling with figuring out who he was.
When someone has been shown grace, there is this effect where grace creates more opportunities of grace in others people’s lives. Generosity is something that is sparked by grace received and I believe that generosity is such a big cultural command in the Kingdom of God because God is graciously generous Himself.
As I have been saying for the past year whenever I take the pulpit, we are blessed so that we can be a blessing so therefore let us ask ourselves today how we can be a gracious and generous blessing unto someone else.
NOTES ON THE TEXT
Today’s text deals with the laws that protect those who cannot protect themselves and are the fringe or minority members of the Israelite community. There are some broad points that the laws address in regards to protecting the people less fortunate.
Honor is more important than money (v.10-15)
In verses ten to eleven, the law states that the one that is owed the money cannot go into the house of the borrower to collect the pledge (cloak) that he will pay back the creditor. Why? The law is preventing the lender from forcefully taking the pledge and thus dishonoring the borrower but giving them the power of choice to honor an agreement rather than forcing something upon them. In verses twelve to thirteen, in the case the man is poor and the cloak is all that they have, the creditor is to not keep it but give it back to the borrower so that he can have something to sleep in that night but what is interesting is that this act will bless the creditor! Why? Choosing to honor and protect someone is an act that blesses the one that exercises it because you are able to live in such a way that is a reflection of God who is your creator and that there is something inherently rewarding when we choose to do the right thing. Honor is more important than money and these laws are not here to protect their materialistic possessions but is to honor and protect life for that is more important.
Grace given, reproduces more grace (v.17-22).
A key statement in this section is the following:
“You were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. Therefore, I command you to do this.”
The foreigner, fatherless, and widow were people in positions of disadvantage and could easily be oppressed or mistreated. The laws given in regards to the produce that an Israelite had was to protect and provide the ones that had little. It was about being generous with the things that they owned. Yes the land and produce was theirs by right but it is the Lord’s blessing upon them and that they are to remind themselves that true blessedness is contagious and generous. When you bless as a reflection of the Father, your blessings will only increase because you are saying His glory is more important than your blessing and God will promote things that will magnify His glory.