The Gift of Choice - Giving, Part 5

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The new year is around the corner! Last week we said love is the greatest gift, and it is out of love that God gives us the gift of choice. Even though it comes at great risk to ourselves, the people around us, and to God himself, he gave us the freedom to choose good or bad, forgiveness or bitterness, love or selfishness.

The gifts aren’t always between two things (good or bad), but also between many things: where to put our time, our attention, our money, our energy. There are so many choices in life!

We may wonder whether this gift was really a good idea, but if we trust God then we trust that he knows what he’s doing. Somehow, free will is his best for humanity.

Sowing and Reaping: The Circle of Life

Giving and receiving (sowing and reaping) is the circle of life. It’s everywhere. Trees receive sunlight and nourishment from the earth and they release oxygen into the air. Dead leaves fall and put nutrients back into the earth. In all parts of nature, some things are consumed and other things are contributed, and a balance is established that keeps the world from falling apart. Built into the natural world are cycles that perpetuate that balance.

But unlike nature, which operates by physical laws and pre-programmed instinct, humanity has a choice.

Parents take care of children when they are young, and children take care of parents when they are old. Or they don’t. We breathe in air and sing out praise to our Creator. Or we don’t. Of all the parts of creation, mankind has been given a choice about how and what he gives back from what he’s been given. 

Thankfully, God didn’t leave us in the dark, ignorant of the consequences of our choices. He gave us a road map, an instruction manual, a record of God’s early history with humankind that illustrates how the world works.

Making Good Out of Bad

In the Bible, God tells us to care for the poor, to love those who are unkind to us, to watch out for each other’s best interests. These aren’t always the obvious choices, which is probably why he spells them out.

He knows how his universe works. The Golden Rule is designed to help us sow good seed, because God wants us to live in a harvest of good. And when Jesus said, “Bless those who curse you,” He’s saying sow good seed even in the face of bad seed, because if you return evil for evil, it only brings more pain to your life. 

Doing good to someone who does evil to us is one way we can turn a bad thing into a good one. Giving to someone in need when we also have needs is one way to bring provision into our lives.

It goes against the grain, doesn’t it? It is often the opposite of what we feel like doing, but it breaks the cycle of the negative and opens the door to blessing.

TAKING IT TO HEART: What choices do you face right now? Set aside your emotions for a moment and consider your choices in the context of today’s post and the others about sowing and reaping. What choice NOW will sow the kind of seed you want to harvest LATER?

God wants to see you blessed in all areas of your life. Choosing what you eat today will sow seed for (or against) your future health. Choosing how to respond to teachers or employers (remember, both attitude and action are seeds) sets the stage for your future success. The cycle of seed and harvest applies everywhere.

CHALLENGE: Find a way to remind yourself of this principle. A sticky note on your bathroom mirror (”Choices are seeds”), a pop-up on your weekly calendar app — find what works for you.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
— Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)