Old Testament reading: Deuteronomy 26-27
“He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6). “Bountifully” is from the Greek eulogos, meaning a good word. In Deuteronomy 26, all firstfruits and tithes were also brought with a good word. The offerer was to bring his gift in verbal remembrance of the great deliverance and blessings of God. Note how the offering was not simply based on economics, but on careful consideration and recollection of all the blessings of God. While we certainly must give some consideration to finances in our giving, we would do well to give consideration to all the blessings we enjoy at God’s hand. What is your freedom worth to you? Your health and access to healthcare? Your leisure time? Your peace of mind as you pillow your head at night? Perhaps we would be better and happier givers if we engaged in the same considerations each week.
New Testament reading: Ephesians 4-6
Ephesians 4 contains “the seven ones,” the only principles to determine unity among brethren (vv 4-6). Why do so many ignore these Divinely given dictates? While most religionists within Christendom can agree on the three persons of the Godhead and the one hope, they are hopelessly divided concerning the one body, the one faith, and the one baptism. These things cannot simply be ignored for the sake of “unity.” Where there is no agreement, there can be no unity. Moreover, this is not just a matter of being in agreement with one another, but in being in agreement with Divine teaching and instruction. Two or more may be in agreement with one another, but if they are not in agreement with Bible teaching, their unity is of no spiritual efficacy or eternal value. Finally, union is not the same thing as unity. An old preacher once illustrated this truth with the following example – You can tie two cats together by their tails and hang them over a clothes line, and you will have union, but not unity.