“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matt 7:11
Ken has been reading “No One Like Him” by Thomas A. Jones, and yesterday he read aloud to me this amazing chapter on “His Good News: Extravagant Generosity.” It is so good, I want to make sure I remember it. I am going to mark this as one of my favorite blogs.
In the chapter, Jones stresses that the gospel from the mouth and life of Jesus is incredibly, insanely good. This gospel is that God will give MUCH MORE.
Here are some examples:
- The woman at the well
- The parable of the man forgiven the huge debt
- The justification of the tax collector who prayed with the Pharisee
- The story of Zacchaeus
- The forgiveness of the woman and Simon’s house
- The parable of the workers in the vineyard
- The support of the man who confessed his doubt
- The numerous healings of those with demon possession
- The cleansing of the ten lepers
- The forgiveness of the thief on the cross
In addition, Jones mentions that the core group of the Jesus’ followers had failed at the crucial hour and were therefore in their roles only because of “relentless grace” of the Son of God.
God gives MUCH MORE. More than we expect. More than we deserve.
Jesus characterizes this extravagant generosity, and THAT becomes our motivation. As Jones says —
“Every standard Jesus sets for us, every challenge he gives us, every seemingly impossible moral imperative he announces must be seen in the context of this insanely generous love, the abundance of support, this extravagant generosity. Take away this gift, this offer, this lavishing of grace, and the call to follow Jesus would just be too hard the Sermon on the Mount would be a burden, and the idea of seeking first the will of God would wear us down.
There is something so great in the kingdom that the only appropriate response is a radical one.”
So my prayer for the new year is that we all would be able to see the MUCH MORE of Jesus, and that would be the impetus behind all we do. Because the gospel is much more than a bunch of things we are supposed to do. It is much more than a set of teachings, or even the story of a man who gave his life. It is the story of a God whose very nature is to shower us with abundance, whose generosity defies logic, who delights in bestowing unexpected and undeserved blessings.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Eph 1:18-19
I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Acts 26:17-18a
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matt 13:52