Advent Devotional: Wednesday, December 12

Scripture: Matthew 13:44 NIV
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Devotional Thought:
This parable shows that joy is the fuel moving us forward. After finding the treasure, it was joy that compels him to sell all he has and buy the field in which the treasure is hidden. What motivates your actions? Often guilt is our motivator or fear or even greed. But God assures us that our motivation can be joy. Imagine the difference in life when we are motivated by a sense of well-being that comes from God being with us instead of absent or even worse ─ against us. The joy of the Lord being with us moves us to share our experience with others like one hungry person showing another where the buffet line starts! The joy of the Lord moves us to share the gift of forgiveness. Joy increases our desire to give of our time and talents.

During this season of gift giving, now is a good time to assess your motivation for giving. Do you give to others out of obligation? Maybe to manipulate or control? Do you find yourself withholding gifts to punish and giving gifts to reward? God’s gift of grace is freely given for our well-being. It is given because God is faithful and not because we deserve. And that is the God-given pattern for our giving as well.

Prayer:
May you plant joy within my heart so I may plant hope in the heart of others by serving them with the wisdom and compassion that emanates from you.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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