One evening a Scotsman was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the road eating grass. Disturbed, he yelled at his driver to stop and got out to investigate. He asked one man, “Why are you eating the grass?” “Well, we don’t have any money for food” the poor man replied. “So we have to eat grass.” “Well then, come with me to my house and I’ll feed you the Scotsman said, “But sir, I also have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree.” “Ok, bring them along too” the Scotsman replied. Turning to the other poor man he stated, “You come with us, also.” The second man in a pitiful voice then said, “But sir, I also have a wife and SEVEN children with me!” Very well then, bring them all” the Scotsman answered. They all piled into the limousine, which was no easy task. Once under way one of the poor fellows turned to the Scotsman and said, “Sir you are truly too kind. Thank you for taking all of us with you. The Scotsman replied, “No problem, glad to do it. “You’ll really love my place “the Grass is almost a foot high.” (Joke from www.cleanjokes4u.com)
Thankfully, God is not like the Scotsman in this story. He does not bless us for His benefit but for our welfare or sake. He hears us, sees us and genuinely cares about our being. That is a sharp contrast from the world and its’ ways. God blesses without selfish intent or manipulation.
“The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath He swore to your ancestors that He brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh King of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. “ Deut. 7
Wow. So God isn’t a fan of just large, big or mega. He sets His affection on us just because He loves us and promised redemption. THAT is HUGE! Little ol you, little ol me. That is regardless of how many “likes” we have on Facebook or how many hits we have on our blogs. God does not play favorites and is not swayed by popularity or bigness. I love Hillsong United – but God loves a little boy humming a tune to Him just as much. I love movements like Women of Faith but God hears a single woman at work asking Him to help her just as much. I love when huge amounts of people stand in solidarity for a cause but God sees and helps little warriors like David bringing sandwiches to his brothers in the field, just as much. It’s our views that our limited. God hears, sees and cares about those whose hearts are postured towards Him. A verse in Psalm 145:16 says, “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” That’s benevolence.
Love is a broad topic but benevolence is a narrow definition of that type of love God has for us. He is concerned not only that we know and worship Him but He cares about our welfare – what is troubling us, what we need, what we desire and care about. He does not use us or manipulate our need to His own advantage to get “air time”. Some days I feel like just a living thing. Lol. If you saw my hairstyle today you would know that accurately describes me. Yet God loves me in spite of that.
This week the Lord showed Himself strong. I know He cares about theology and church stuff but our heater/AC went out. We feared it would be a big deal but it turned into a blessing. Then I went to buy my handsome hubby some new shirts for his birthday and they were on sale. Several times when things looked chaotic it turned around to be something that worked out for our good. That is not because we are educated, brush our teeth, go to church or have superpowers in the area of home management. God is just good or more precisely God is benevolent.
Do you want to experience Him as such? You can sit and hum asking to encounter God and He may oblige you. I know many that spend vast hours in worship and meditation and are still seeking God for that experience that will give them goosebumps and that is fine. If you really want to encounter God, though… I’ll let you in on a secret – act like Him. Find someone who is praying for an answer, blessing or miracle and then become that in that person’s life. Your goosebumps will get orange size.
I remember a couple of years ago there was a lady who needed some shoes at a thrift store. I found a dress pair and some snow boots because both seemed necessary. Then I got carried away and put together an ensemble. For those men (or women) who do not know what an ensemble is –it is a matching hat, scarf and mittens. She looked at me and said, “I could never know which to choose.” I said, no silly, it’s an ensemble -you wear it all together. I want to get it for you. After she was done crying we put it all on. I stood back and exclaimed, “You look like a fancy model from Paris.” Oh we had fun. Then that woman decided maybe she was worth something and we began a conversation that ended with her escaping from an abusive domestic situation. God’s benevolence towards us expresses value. He see and stoops low to help us because we are valuable to HIM. Awesome.
My memory verse this week was about conforming to Christ – looking similar, being fashioned like Him and mirroring who He is. It fit in nicely with this topic because those who have been chosen and redeemed by the benevolent loving God will most look like Him when we are acting like Him and benevolence is a good place to start. Who do we pay it forward to? Who deserves a smile, a hug, a full gas tank or paid rent receipt? IF we are following after Christ and His ways, it should look like something He would do, not just what we would want.
We can pray for God’s to grant us benevolence – and I like being the recipient of that. We can worship Him 24/7 and tell Him how benevolent He is and I’m sure He would enjoy that. Or, we can pray as we go to be benevolent to others and then worship with them that God answered their prayers for provision and our prayers for an encounter with a living God. I like the celebration and co-laboring aspect of that.
Acts 14:17 states, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” God continues to pour out His blessings in our lives. When we don’t see the big stuff we can be reminded of the constant things like rain, food, air, sight, health and joy. He is an on time God, never early, never late.
I pray for you this week that you will see His hand in your life as you turn to Him for provision, care and heart needs. I pray you find many opportunities to be His hand outstretched to others in a benevolent way. I pray this new found sense of purpose and joy will impact your family, church and neighborhood. Lord, thank you for seeing and hearing our needs and desires. Show us the needs and desires in those around us and which ones you would like us to meet. Use us for Your glory. Amen.