Daily Lectionary: Genesis 45:1-20, 24-28; Mark 13:1-23
He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. (The Small Catechism: Apostles Creed, First Article, Part 2)
Merry Lent! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God is good. Luther describes Him in the Large Catechism as “an eternal fountain that gushes forth all that is and could be called ‘good’” (Large Catechism I: 24). He’s a good God who gives good gifts.
Gifts are given. They aren’t earned or deserved. A gift, by definition, is given. You didn’t earn your Christmas or birthday gifts when you were a child. Your parents gave you gifts because you were their child despite your earning your way onto the naughty list
Your being alive is a gift from God. He gave you life and He preserves your life. Everything that you have—every last thing—comes to you as a gift from God. All that you have, all that you will have, all you need is from the good God who made you and sustains you in this life.
We doubt God’s goodness. We despair of it. We covet more than He gives us and make comparisons with what He’s given to others. We have to keep up with the Joneses, and the grass is always greener on their side of the fence! We deceive ourselves into thinking that we deserve more! Our definition of a “good” God is a slot machine spitting out all that we think we need, and more!
That’s idolatry. We need to repent of it, if we would be saved. We don’t judge God’s goodness by the gifts He gives to us. Have we forgotten how good He has been to us in the giving up of His Son? If He didn’t spare His Son for us, how much more will He give us the little things we need to support this life, which in itself is also a gift from Him?
The Father gives what we need, not what we want. He does this because He loves us and wants to keep us from putting our trust in things. Apart from His giving, we’d rely on them rather than on God. So what we need, He gives. What we don’t receive from Him is a gift, too.
Our response to His gift-giving is to offer our lives as living sacrifices to Him. We give to Him what He has given to us. He reminds us in our offerings that it all comes to us from Him. Giving to Him doesn’t earn favor with Him. We give because He has given to us.
God is a good God. He gave us all that we have. He gave us all that we need. He still takes care of what He has given to us. If you doubt, just look at the Cross. He gave up His Son. He will provide everything else for you, too! Merry Lent! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. George Borghardt