A reading for Friday, April 11, 2014: Mark 10:32-45.

"For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve..."

Our God is a giver. "God gave his only son, so that all who believe in him will not perish but will have eternal life." The primary characteristic of our God is giving...

In our lesson today, James and John understand this more than the rest. Perhaps we too, like the other disciples, are frustrated with these two for asking Jesus to sit at his right and his left. Especially since the request comes just after Jesus again proclaims his crucifixion. How rude!

But James and John understand Jesus as a giver. They know God as a giver. If Jesus is giving the gift of his life for them, then James and John are at least right in wanting to receive the giving. If God is giving, then James and John are going to get as much as they can.

It's like young children taking communion. We are sometimes frustrated with them when they want a "bigger piece" or want to go through the line again. But children understand the giving nature of God perhaps more than we do. If God is going to give them something like communion, then they are going to get as much as they can get. These young children are like James and John.

Didn't Jesus just say to receive the Kingdom like little children?

Understanding God as a giver means two things. First, it means it's okay to receive blessings from God. It's okay to ask for things. It's okay to feel good when you feel the presence of God in receiving something wonderful. God delights in giving us good life and simple joy. If God is giving, then it's okay to get some.

The second thing to remember is that when we give to others, we are demonstrating the giving nature of our God. We are reflecting the presence of God into the world around us. So set up your life not only to receive the giving of God but to give and give abundantly so that others will know God through you. Give love. Give resources. Give time. Give grace. Give forgiveness. Give expecting nothing in return. Give expecting everything in return. Give.

How great is our God, the blessed giver! How giving is our Lord Jesus... "For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve." May you receive the fresh gift of the Holy Spirit today and may you freely give some of it to someone else.


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