By: Brian Fischer
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
This morning I was listening to a podcast about the gift of grace and giving gifts in the Roman culture in Paul’s day. The author who was talking in the podcast said that in the Roman culture it was standard practice that if you received a gift, you gave a gift in response to receiving a gift. I believe that this should be a standard practice for us as Christians as well. God gives us gifts not so we can just hold onto them, but so that we would pass them along to others as well.
This summer at TFC, our mission trip theme was “Overflow” and the theme verse was Romans 15:13 which states – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” As followers of Jesus we are called to be conduits for his gifts to flow through, not closed containers to keep them for ourselves. The gifts that he gives us should overflow from us into the people around us so they can be a part of his body and his blessings as well. These gifts are not just for us – they are for other people who we come into contact with in our everyday lives.
In Matthew chapter 18 Jesus tells the parable of the unmerciful servant and I think this is a good picture of what happens when we are selfish with what God gives us. In the parable, the king calls in all of his servants to settle their accounts and one servant owes him a very large amount of money that he cannot even come close to repaying. The king orders that he sell everything he has, including his family, to pay the debt and the servant begs for mercy. The king has compassion on him and cancels all of his debts and sends him away a free man who owes him nothing. Instead of passing that wonderful gift of mercy and compassion on to others, this servant goes out and finds a fellow servant who owes him a small amount of money and demands that he repays it immediately. And when he can’t, he throws him in jail until he can pay the debt. When the king finds out what he did to his fellow servant, he has this “unmerciful servant” thrown into jail and reinstates his full debt. The king takes back the wonderful gift he had given to this servant because of how he responded to receiving the gift.
God gives us gifts like mercy, compassion and forgiveness so that we can pass them along to others. These gifts are not just for us – they are for others in our life. We offer these gifts to others, including our families, because God has given them to us even though we don’t deserve them. We are given gifts by God for our benefit AND for the benefit of others.
Tip for Today: Extend mercy, compassion, or forgiveness to 1 person today. If they ask why you’re being kind, use that as an opportunity to share about your relationship with Christ and the way that He shows us mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.
Brian Fischer is the Executive Director for Teens For Christ Connection in Phillipsburg, KS where he lives with his wife Julie and their two children, Nathan and Natalie.
Here is a place where you can do the "tip-for-today."
Tip for Today: Extend mercy, compassion, or forgiveness to 2 specific people today. If they ask why you’re being kind, use that as an opportunity to share about your relationship with Christ and the way that He shows us mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.