Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Giving Our Way to Prosperity" (Lesson Twelve)

This next-to-last lesson in V.P. Black's book gives an interesting perspective to giving. It walks us through the story of the Magi (or wise men) to see their attitude and the gifts they brought to the child Jesus. This lesson is unlike others in the book in that it basically is a sermon. One could read this chapter straight through and it would read like a sermon or lecture on giving. There are no lists or long parentheticals as in other lessons.

To emphasize the giving of the wise men, brother Black mentions these four points about their giving:

1. "They made ready for the offering" (page 69). To emphasize the modern-day lesson, brother Black reminds us of Matthew 6:33 and also the Old Testament story of the widow of Zarephath.

2. "They guarded their offering" (70). While not stated in the text, it is obvious that these men had to guard the gifts they brought, simply because of the distance they traveled and the value of each gift. We often "lose" our gifts by robbers. Brother Black enumerates some of these "robbers" as "need," "carelessness" and "automobile!" (70-71)

3. "They presented their offerings to Christ" (71). They went directly to Jesus to offer these gifts. This shows the desire of their heart as much as the gift itself.

4. "They provided for Christ's needs in their offering" (72). Do we give with needs in mind, or do we just give because we "have to"? That's a question that only I can answer for myself, but that will teach me much about my heart.