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Living generously, whether with our financial or other resources, begins with a trust in a generous God and an awareness that we live in the reality of his Kingdom, one that is unshakeable. Author James Bryan Smith (The Good and Beautiful Life) provides what is quoted in these reflections.

Monday – Matthew 6.19-20. “Jesus isn’t telling us to not treasure things, he is telling us which kinds of things to treasure. We shouldn’t treasure a car because it will not be around forever and cannot love back. Treasures in heaven relate to the things God is doing, which is helping people. Treasuring our spouse or friend is a very good investment. He or she is an eternal spiritual being who can return love and can bless the world.” Prayer focus: how can you invest in helping someone today?

Tuesday – Matthew 6.21. “Treasures in heaven are not gained by meritorious acts, ‘but by belonging to and living by the priorities of the kingdom of heaven.’ Some people have misinterpreted Jesus’ words as encouraging us to increase our good works so we will have a nice house in heaven. That is far from the truth. Our good works do not merit us anything except the intrinsic value of growing closer to God and helping put on the character of Christ.”

Wednesday – Matthew 6.22-23. Jesus is using common illustrations of his day that make little sense to us today. “In Jesus’ day, ‘unhealthy eye’ referred to a stingy, envious, jealous person. A person with a healthy or ‘clear eye’ was generous. Jesus’ point is that through kingdom economics, his apprentices can be generous with their money and possessions. Generosity indicates that one is living in the kingdom.” Today, pray that God may help you have an ever-increasing desire to be a generous person.

Thursday – Matthew 6.24. “Jesus’ words must have shocked his hearers, who typically believed wealth was a sign of God’s blessing. Why was Jesus so bold as to call wealth a god? Money and wealth are godlike in several ways. Money outlives us, having an almost eternal dimension. Money has a wide circle of influence–everyone respects it. Wealth pretends to offer what we want from God–security, comfort, and happiness. That’s why we are prone to ‘serve’ money. Our hearts are the real issue. It is possible to be very poor and serve mammon (the spirit of wealth). It is also possible to be wealthy and have a kingdom heart.”

Friday – Matthew 6.25-32. “We may be tempted to think that Jesus is telling us to trust God to provide our needs without our help. Birds, as we know, are not lazy creatures. They actually work very hard, actively seeking their sustenance. But they do so without worrying. Jesus is asking a profound question: if God provides for the smallest and most insignificant creatures, don’t you think he can provide for you? It’s a logical question that moves us away from worry to trust. Trust keeps us focused on God’s abundant resources.”

Saturday – Matthew 6.33. “This is the key principle to the Sermon on the Mount. What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God first? It means making the reality and the principles of God’s kingdom our first and primary concern. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work hard. We continually look to God and what he is doing in the midst of ordinary life. It means facing our trials and troubles not with anxiety but with trust that God can and will work in them.”