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Day 20 – Not for Ourselves but Others: The Great Rule of the Kingdom

Mark 4:21–25 ESV

And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

Consider This

Just as many of you read the Daily Text faithfully each week, I also have certain writings I read to encourage my growth in the grace of God. Every morning I read the daily writings of Dr. Gary Hoag, a.k.a. “The Generosity Monk,” a close friend and co-laborer in the work of the gospel. Just recently he posted a quote I think powerfully captures the ideas at work in today’s text. The quote comes from Edward Payson:

“Not for ourselves, but others”—is the grand law of nature, inscribed by the hand of God on every part of creation. Not for itself, but others, does the sun dispense its beams; not for themselves, but others, do the clouds distil their showers; not for herself, but others, does the earth unlock her treasures; not for themselves, but others, do the trees produce their fruits, or the flowers diffuse their fragrance and display their various hues. So, not for himself, but others, are the blessings of Heaven bestowed on man; and whenever, instead of diffusing them around, he devotes them exclusively to his own gratification, and shuts himself up in the dark and flinty caverns of selfishness, he transgresses the great law of creation—he cuts himself off from the created universe, and its Author—he sacrilegiously converts to his own use the favors which were given him for the relief of others, and must be considered, not only as an unprofitable, but as a fraudulent servant, who has worse than wasted his Lord’s money. He, who thus lives only to himself, and consumes the bounty of Heaven upon his lusts, or consecrates it to the demon of avarice, is a barren rock in a fertile plain; he is a thorny bramble in a fruitful vineyard; he is the grave of God’s blessings.

Gary comes up with this kind of gold almost every single day. Because this particular reading spoke powerfully to me concerning today’s text and because I also want to be faithful to “put the lamp on the stand,” I wanted to share his work with you and encourage you to follow Gary at his website generositymonk.com.

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

Have you found all the ways you can serve others but still be serving yourself? Explain.