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The Transformative Power of Generosity

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

, March 10, 2019

This passage from Deuteronomy is a litany repeated several times throughout the Old Testament. It puts into the mouth of a worshiper the history of the journey of the worshiper's nation’s origins leading up to the moment his specific worshiper brings his offering to God’s house.

“My father was a wondering Aramean. He went into Egypt and loved as an alien.”

Line after line, the worshiper confesses that his prosperity is the result of a long line of events that occurred before he was even born. He has been born into privilege, including his knowledge of the ways of God.

Generosity is the spiritual tool that delivers Israel from closing in on itself, lifting its eyes beyond itself in ways consistent with with God’s call to Abraham: I will bless you so that you will be a blessing. Israel had the tendency to hear the first part of that promise while ignoring the second part, which addressed the purpose for God’s promised prosperity. The prosperity was not an entitlement but a matter of stewardship. Israel’s worship involved a recognition of this national stewardship.