One of the most significant gifts we can receive is the mantle and spirit of those whom we admire. For me, it would be my grandmother. My grandmother was a strong and courageous woman. She was committed to her family, the church, and God. She taught me her faith by singing songs of praise and reading her Bible as I sat on her lap. Her faith was so real I could feel it through her smile and her actions. To be told that her spirit lives in me reminds me that she is still with me.
In the book of Joel, we see a God who restores us from a place of ruin. To hear the promise that God will give them back what the insects have devoured gives the people of Israel a sense of hope and redemption. What more could God do? What more could God offer? It seems that God has given them everything they need to restart their lives.
When they seem content with what God has given them, God takes love a step further. God pours out God’s Spirit. What greater way for God to show love and grace to a people who were poor in resources and spirit? I have gathered over the years that the gift of God’s Spirit is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. We can carry the gift of the Spirit as a reminder of the lessons and promises of God and that we are not alone.
Today, before you thank God for any of your physical possessions, thank God for giving us God’s Spirit. For the Spirit reminds us that God has gifted us with much more than we can know.
Holy God, we are grateful for all that you have done and given to us. Most of all we are grateful for your Spirit, which warms us and reminds us that you are forever with us. Amen.
The theme in the readings from the Hebrew scriptures is abundance. Joel speaks of the time of plenty in the land of Israel. This abundance is not only physical, for it includes a generous outpouring of the Spirit of God. The psalmist sings of abundant rains that allows the land to flourish. The hills, meadows, and valleys all sing praise to God. Second Timothy 4 contains the scriptural passage that brings us closest to the death of Paul. The apostle has been abandoned by many, but the Lord stands by him as he faces his likely imminent death. In the Gospel, Jesus warns us about the dangers of pride. The Pharisee in the parable thinks his personal goodness brings favor with God, but God desires a humble heart.
Read Joel 2:23-32. How has rain been a sign of God’s impending provision in your life?
Read Psalm 65. How has God’s forgiveness freed you to participate in creation’s joy?
Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18. When has God strengthened you in the face of evil?
Read Luke 18:9-14. What aspect of your life do you need to approach with renewed humility?
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