Reading: Luke 5:17 – 6:49
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45 (NIV)
I am intrigued by the idea that goodness can be “stored up”. Jesus tells me here that “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart…” God also “stores up goodness” as seen in Psalm 31:19 (NIV): “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”
Goodness: The state or quality of being good; moral excellence; the beneficial or nourishing element of something; kindly feeling; generosity; essence; the best part of anything.
What an amazing thought, that God has stored up “the best part” for me! He knows exactly what I need and what delights me, and has something beneficial and nourishing ready to give me at just the right moment. And he has placed in me this same capacity to store up goodness, ready to share “at just the right moment” with the people he would lead me to. What a privilege, to be like God!
Goodness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit's presence and work in my life as I submit myself daily to him. If goodness can be stored, I'd like my cupboards to be large! And the more often I can empty them by bestowing goodness on others, the more often God can fill them afresh. He never runs out of goodness.
Best there be a door not just on the front of the cupboard, but also on the back, for “inward goods”. Or better still, let's just make that an open hatch! And whenever I find myself on the receiving end of a particular blessing from God, whether that be a financial blessing, or a 'happy turn of events', or an answer to prayer, my first reaction after giving thinks to him can be to intentionally look for some way to share the blessing of God's goodness with someone else. Goodness in, goodness out.
Lord God, you have been so good to me. I love the idea of being able to share your goodness with others. Please continue to renew my heart that I might be a good man, and enlarge my capacity to be able to receive and share your goodness. I look not to my own supply channels but to you for all I need. And I pray that you would indeed bestow your goodness on me “in the sight of men”, that all may see what a good and gracious God you are.
See also, Before eBay or TradeMe, there was God…
Reading: Exodus 36:7 – 38
They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Exodus 38:8 (NIV)
In the time the Tent of Meeting was being made, mirrors were commonly made from either polished bronze or polished copper. One side of the round metal mirror would be polished bright to give a reflection, and the other side decorated with ornate designs. It seems that despite all the offerings made by the people of Israel for the Tent of Meeting, when it came time to make the wash basin and its stand, there was no bronze available.
It was time to have a quick offering, and the women who were the “servants in the house” provided what was needed. Mirrors were no doubt a valuable commodity for these women, and were perhaps not easily replaced. The call for bronze could have been put out to the wider community, but those close to the need were the ones who provided.
Those closest to a need will in most cases be the best ones to provide help. Whether it be practical help, emotional support, or the provision of money or resources, I need to be ready and willing to give. I can't expect everyone to help, nor should I begrudge having to be the one who provides. There will always be more need than can be met, but I have the unique opportunity to help those in the place God has planted me. If we all did that, what a wonderful place the world could be.
Thank you Lord God that you loved the world so much that you gave your only Son. Help me now to love the world you have placed me in. Help me to hold loosely to my “valuables”, and instead to be generous with my time and my resources in meeting the needs around me.