Ever since The Message was published, I have been intrigued by Eugene H. Peterson and his writings. He insightfully shares about Jeremiah in his book Run with the Horses. Among the dramatic dialogues between Jeremiah and Jehovah, the LORD revealed that the divine purpose of Jeremiah’s life was to be found in knowing that God “gave” him to the nations.
God is a giving God. He lavishes us with His grace. He loved the world so much that He gave his only Son to be our Savior. His mercy is new every morning. One song writer penned, “He giveth, and giveth and giveth again.”
He made us that way too. This is where Peterson takes over the greater part of the rest of this.
“Some things we have a choice in, some we don’t. In this we don’t. It is the kind of world into which we were born, God created it. God sustains it. Giving is the style of the universe. Giving is woven into the fabric of existence. If we try to live by getting instead of giving, we are going against the grain. It is like trying to go against the law of gravity - the consequence is bruises and broken bones. In fact, we do see a lot of distorted, misshapen, crippled lives among those who defy the reality that all life is given and must continue to be given to be true to its nature.
There is a rocky cliff on the shoreline of the Montana lake where I live part of each summer. There are breaks in the rockface in which tree swallows make their nests. For several weeks one summer, I watched the swallows in flight collect insects barely above the surface of the water then dive into the cavities in the cliff, feeding first their mates and then their newly hatched chicks. Near one of the cracks in the cliff face, a dead branch stretched about four feet over the water. One day I was delighted to see three new swallows sitting side by side on this branch. The parents made sweeping, insect-gathering circuits over the water and then returned to the enormous cavities that those little birds became as they opened their beaks for a feeding. This went on for a couple of hours until the parents decided they had had enough of it. One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch – pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water four feet below, the wings started working, and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one. The third was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious. The parent was without sentiment. He pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the poor chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released and the inexperienced wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not – that it would fly – that there was no danger in making it do what it was perfectly designed to do.”
Giving is what fulfills us. It is our purpose. It is our satisfaction. It is service, quality time, thoughtful assistance, financial contributions, and attentive listening. It is becoming genuinely interested in and caring toward others. Make it a daily habit.Review your day before you drift off to sleep and pray for those to whom you gave during the day. Then get up tomorrow and give again until it feels right.
About the Author
R.J. Koland, M.Div.
R.J. Koland is an experienced pastor and administrator. Having received education from the University of Minnesota and Bethel Theological Seminary, he was well equipped to lead six churches as well as support numerous other ministry endeavors. Currently, he pastors Central’s Assembly Of God in Mesquite, Texas, as well as serving as the Director of Development for Newman International Academy, a charter school based out of Arlington, Texas. R.J. Has helped launch several successful institutes of higher education, as well as held multiple professorial and administrative roles in various colleges
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