It is all about communion

I know, dear God, that you care nothing for the surface—you want us, our true selves—and so I have given from the heart, honestly and happily. And now see all these people doing the same, giving freely, willingly—what a joy! O God, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this generous spirit alive forever in these people always, keep their hearts set firmly in you. (I Chronicles 29:17-18)

There is a saying that goes something like, "You cannot put lipstick on a pig" - meaning that it is pretty much impossible to improve anything that is bad and stinky. There are lots of times I think we try to 'put lipstick on the pig', trying to make ourselves look kind of good on the outside, but forgetting that the character on the inside is what God is really after. Some may even dress up really nice for church and live like the devil the rest of the week.

While God doesn't want us going around all dirty and stinky, he also isn't as concerned about what the outside looks like as he is about the inner workings of our heart and mind. He wants those dedicated to him, first and foremost, then willing to use the grace we have been bestowed to bless the lives of others around us. Ever try to 'outgive' God's grace? It is impossible, but I have seen some try to do one good work right after another, all in the attempt to somehow do 'enough' to deserve God's blessings in their lives.

It is a futile effort to live that way, though. God cannot be 'outgiven'. His grace is limitless because our need for it is also limitless! He brings one wave of grace after another, all for the purpose of helping our minds become uncluttered, hearts undivided, and spirits undefeated. There is something that is a natural outcome of being blessed by God - giving from a grateful and dedicated heart. This is fine, but doing good works to get more blessings is never God's intent!

A generous spirit stems from embracing the generosity of God's grace. When we begin to see our emotions settled, our thoughts reordered, and our empty spirit filled to overflowing, the outcome is worship and praise. That gift of worship may not seem like much to 'give back' to God, but it is the greatest thing he can receive. Why? It lets him know we have connected our spirit with his and we are settling into the place of communion with him. This is what God is after. Even when David and Solomon set about to collect all the materials needed to construct the Temple of the Lord, the 'gifts' were not just about 'giving' - they were about communion. Just sayin!

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