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Desperate people come to a place where they are driven either by despair to give up, or by resolve to persevere beyond all reason and apparent ability.
When King David hit bottom, he believed in God's promise to never give up on him. From a place of abject despair, he did not give up on God. Though he had committed adultery and murder, David had the audacity to ask the Lord for joy and edification:
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me with a generous spirit.
~ Psalms 51:12 (author)
In asking God to restore his joy, David asks for the spirit with which to take hold of it—a spirit of generosity, or noble liberality, toward God.
He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully... God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you ...
~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NKJV)
Generosity comes easily from abundance. But in time of scarcity, generosity comes by sacrifice and great cost.
Generous expressions of gratitude to God for His blessings are fitting in times of abundance and easily sown. When thanksgiving and praise become a sacrifice—given from poverty, in famine of joy—it is not as easy to sow with a liberal hand. Yet if there will ever be a bountiful harvest, there must be bountiful sowing, even from a place of scarcity.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
~ Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)
Gratitude is the currency with which joy is purchased. Joy eludes the ungrateful heart of complaint and discontent. The heart willing to sow gratitude with a generous spirit in time of famine will again reap abundant joy. In any economy, value is determined by the price one is willing to pay to obtain what one seeks.
To be desperate for joy offers a choice. Either give up, or pay out the currency of joy. It is tendered with gratitude, however high the price.
I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, "Seek My face,"
My heart said to You, "Your face, LORD, I will seek."
~ Psalms 27:6-8 (NKJV)
"Discontent is a sin that is its own punishment ...
It is a sin that is its own parent.
It arises not from the condition, but from the mind.
As we find Paul contented in a prison,
so Ahab discontent in a palace."
~ Matthew Henry
My thanks to Ginny at "Make a Difference to One" for the Matthew Henry quote.
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Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.