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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

REJOICE IN GOD'S GIFTS

Deuteronomy 26:11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.

In this chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses is rehearsing to the children of Israel what is to be expected when they reach the Promised Land. They will be rewarded with prosperity, and the land will yield bountiful crops. Here, Moses is telling them what their responsibility will be in order to receive such bounty. They are to return a portion to God as a gift of thanksgiving, to give a portion to the Levites, their spiritual leaders, and to give a portion to the poor. The reason for them to share their bounty was because all they owned, all their physical possessions, was a gift to them from God - because God brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey (Deut. 26:9).

Although this was a promise from God that Moses had told them about, we know, from the book of Joshua and the following books of the Old Testament, that these bountiful gifts were realized by Israel after entering Promised Land, and they were to share them according to God's commandments. This same lesson is taught in many places in the Old Testament. It is also taught in New Testament writings. Paul, the apostle, teaches this lesson in his letter to the Corinthians. The entire ninth chapter of 2 Corinthians, teaches this lesson as Paul encourages them to give to the needy and poor at Jerusalem. Not only were they to give to this particular need but they were also to give unto all men (Vs. 13). The whole philosophy of giving and receiving, as God wants us all to learn, is summed up in verse 6 of this chapter: He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. With God's bountiful gifts, the Israelites had the responsibility to give to others. The Corinthians also had this responsibility. By these examples, we know God expects the same from us today. God has given us everything that we have. With these gifts we also received the responsibility of sharing our bounty with others, for God loveth a cheerful giver (Vs. 7).

Is giving important in the eyes of God? Paul wrote this about giving: all should abound in this grace also and it will prove the sincerity of your love (See 2 Cor. 8:7-8). Sharing God's gifts with others is very important to Him. It is a demonstration of charity - our love for our fellow beings. Our two great commandments are to, first, love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and second, love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:37-40). The apostle John wrote that Christ revealed a new commandment - that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. Mankind will recognize you as a Christian if ye have love one to another (See John 13:34-35). Our faith in God and our hope for eternal life in heaven is dependent on our charitable works of love for others. This is beautifully explained to us in 1 Cor. 13. Read the whole chapter, then read it again and again. Each time you read it, the message will mean more to you.

Jesus Christ gives us a glimpse of judgment day and the importance of sharing our gifts with others. The only way we can demonstrate our obedience to God's first law, to love the Lord thy God, is by our obedience to God's second law, to love thy neighbor as thyself. When questioned by the lawyer, Jesus told us who our neighbors were in Luke 10:25-37. These verses tell us that our neighbors are anyone in need, even our enemies. This example of love answered the lawyer's first question, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Rejoice in God's gifts. Share them with others. Where you spend eternal life depends on how you use the gifts God has given you. Your gifts may be great or small, but you will be judged on how you use them. You can be assured, whether you have much or little, God has given you sufficient to share with others. In doing so, you lay up treasures in heaven. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break in and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:19-21).