A Harvest of Beauty

 

fabric

A friend of mine is moving and part of the process is deciding what is going and what is going if you know what I mean. Denice decided that her stash of fabric had to go, and I became the lucky recipient. Score!

When Denice bought the fabric, she fully intended to use it for her own projects. She could see their potential for creating beauty. Little did she know at the time, they would eventually fall into my hands and I would pass some along to others. By sharing the fabric, beauty was going to show up in some unexpected ways.

Just one way the fabric was used was for teaching a another class in beginning quilt making. (See the other post on the first workshop here.) It brought a group together who knew each other from work, this time for some fun. They chatted and laughed, told stories about their lives, and encouraged each other. They built deeper, stronger relationships, and their quilt tops turned out awesome too.

And that’s not all. Each participant in the class donated some money towards a mission project that would benefit a family in Mexico by providing them a home. What will be created there is still to come, and from my experience, I can tell you it will be exceptional.

You can imagine the fabric Denice bought to make something beautiful certainly did its job and will continue to do so in the future. But as special as the gift was, it is the generosity that has revealed something even more wonderful.

 

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through this, your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 NIV

I love this Scripture that is found in Second Corinthians titled Generosity Encouraged. Saint Paul, the writer, uses a planting theme to get his point across. He starts with, “Remember, whoever sows sparingly, will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” [2 Corinthians 9:4] Makes sense. Less seed planted results in a lower crop yield. More seed, bigger harvest.

Denice could have simply decided to keep her fabric tucked away in boxes and stored them at her new home. It was totally up to her, but instead, she chose to be generous, and her gifts touched others who in turn touched others. This is very much how seeds work. Each seed planted produces many more seeds that will produce even more. The harvest is multiplied.

Let’s take a quick look at what kind of harvest generosity brings. It’s the whole premise and promise idea—When you do this, you can expect this result. Second Corinthians 9:10 says, generosity will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. Righteousness is the state of what we ought to be, the way God pictures us. According to this Scripture, the more generous we are, the more we are who God meant us to be.

So, generosity satisfies a need for the recipient and builds righteousness in the giver, but it doesn’t stop there. According to Scripture from Second Corinthians, our generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. In fact, the verse that follows says,

“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”

What’s more— “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity with them and with everyone else.”

Simply said, generosity is a sign you are indeed a follower of Jesus. “Loving your neighbor as yourself” [Matthew 22:39] makes the Gospel real to others and brings praise to God.

I guess some questions we might consider are:
  • Do we want to be more like how we ought to be? How God created us?
  • Do we want others to know when we say we are Christians it’s more than just words?
  • Do we want the world to be changed for the better because it sees the Gospel in action?
  • Do we want our lives to glorify God?

Generosity will answer all these questions with a resounding YES! But lest you worry if you have what it takes to be generous remember—

“Now He [God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed . . . You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.”

You’ve got this. Just as it was for my friend, Denice, and the fabric she had stored away for the day she would be called upon to be generous, God has enriched you with what you will need to be giving on every occasion whether it be resources, words, time, prayer, etc. Believe what He says and see what beauty you will create with all He has already given you.

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.
Proverbs 27:19
*

Be generous.


Denice Kucera (2)
Denice is a true Girl on Adventure.

She would probably tell you she is no one special but her friends would certainly argue with that. Whenever there is a need, Denice is willing to lend a hand. She is a good friend, gives great advice, inspires others to have fun, and loves God’s word. She strives to follow Jesus every day because she knows He goes to the best places and  she would be the first to invite you along on the journey.


 

Here is a sampling of the beautiful creations from the workshop with my daughter’s co-workers. We had such a great day. Life needs more of this. Don’t you agree?

 

 


 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25

Thanks to Denice and others who were generous a house like this one will be built in the spring 2019 for another family in Mexico. To know more about Hands of Mercy’s ministry checkout their website here.

 

Loft house

First Impressions

clotheyourself

“You can’t judge a book by its cover, but it does tell me whether I want to engage it or not,” my sister stated on Facebook the other day. I have no idea what she was referring to, but I have an idea it wasn’t a book. It made me chuckle. I had just had a run in with someone who claimed to be a Jesus follower but from the attitude she was wearing, I wasn’t so sure.

Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 13:14

What does it mean to be to be clothed in Christ?

This may be where people find difficulty. Do we know what Jesus looks like? We use a lot of statements about what the Bible says, but how often do we think about how Jesus interacted with the world around Him? When was the last time you investigated the Scriptures to see how Jesus did things? I must admit I spend more time in the instruction found in the letters of the New Testament texts than in the actual stories of Jesus showing us how it’s done. How about you?

To know what it means to clothe yourself with Christ, you will first need to know what He looks like. Let’s take a peek. Our very first glimpse of Jesus acting on His own sets the stage for the rest of us. Start here by reading the story in Luke 2:41-52. I’ll wait.

Seek

In this tiny bit of Scripture, we get to see a snippet of His childhood. Right from the beginning, Jesus is demonstrating to us the importance of seeking God. Here we find Him in the temple courts. Jesus went to the place where He was sure to find what He was looking for. I know, I know, you’re right when you point out that Jesus was always in God’s presence since He was God. But He was also a man, living a man’s life. If we look at His life lived here on earth, we can learn how to live ours better. In this case, He shows seeking is good but there’s more. Jesus also submitted His life to God, His Father. His first recorded words reveal His heart in this when He said, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business.” Luke 2:49 KJV

Learn

Along with seeking and submitting, Jesus was also listening and asking questions. In my last post How’s Your Spiritual Life Going, we investigated the importance of taking time to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His teaching. Jesus goes a step farther here and shows us to ask questions as we search for wisdom. There is a young woman in my Bible study group who is always full of questions. I love this girl and her bravery to investigate what she does not know. As a new Christian, there is much for her to discover in God’s word. Let’s face it, there’s much for all of us to discover no matter how well versed we think we are. When we stop asking the questions, we will also stop growing. Questioning is a sign of the desire to move forward and grow.

Obey

Finally, Jesus shows us the importance of obedience. This story ends with Jesus living in obedience. Our obedience to the Lord is key to living a life that wins God’s approval and is attractive to those around us. Proverbs 3 puts it like this—“My son, do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck, write them on the table of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:1-4 NIV

Do you see something familiar here?

The passage in Luke ends with these very words. “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52 NIV It all came from seeking God out, learning all He could from Him, and living according to His ways.

In a sense, this story begins with the submission of the heart and ends with the practicing of submission in life. If we follow Jesus’s lead, our outside will tell the world exactly what’s on inside. To look like Jesus, we can’t just believe in Him. We must do what He did. The result will be a beauty the world will want to engage.

Those who say they live their lives in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
1 John 2:6 NLT


What is your favorite story about Jesus? What do you learn from His example that can become a part of how you live?