DEVOTION

‘MUSCLE’ MEMORY

"So show them your love, and prove to all the churches that our boasting about you is justified." 2 Corinthians 8:24 NLT

Sarah grew up in a family that practiced tithing and as a child she put ten cents in the offering plate from each dollar she received. She remembers receiving her first paycheck of $56 from her first job as a teenager, and her sense of achievement and delight when she gave $5.60 to the church. Now in her for­ties, Sarah has a high-paying job as a senior executive, and tithing continues to feel natural, a regular pattern of her life. She does it with ease and grace. "I love giving," she says, "and I cannot imagine living my life or loving God without giving back. Giving is one of the great joys of my life.”

For someone who is beginning this journey, Sarah's level of discipleship may appear counter-cultural … but with practice, anyone can develop this spiritual "muscle memory." The joy received from this exercise of faith will uplift your spirit much like endorphins do following a good physical workout.

Giving generously reprioritizes lives and helps people dis­tinguish what is lasting, eternal, and of infinite value from what is temporary, illusory, and untrustworthy. The discipline of generous giving places people on the balcony of life, helping them look out at the world with new perspective, bet­ter able to see its traps, deceptions, and myths. The practice of generosity is a means by which God builds people up, strength­ens their spirits, and equips them to “take hold of the life that really is life.” 1 Timothy 6:19 NRSV