The Upper Room Devotion for Tuesday, August 1, 2023, was written by Brian A. Wolfe of Pennsylvania.
6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13 Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NRSV
SINGING FOR EZRA
When Ezra came to our church, he and I struck up a friendship that led to many converstions and eventually a visit to his country home. But his health failed, and soon he was in our local veteran's hospital and nearing death.
One day I took my guitar and songbook to his bedside and sang hymns to him as he drifted in and out of a groggy state of mind. He would open his eyes and sing along with me and then close his eyes and rest with a smile on his face. I played and sang quietly, not wanting to distrub any other patients. But as I reached the end of my visit, a nurse came into the room and said, "Could you play a little louder? The man across the hall is dying and loves to hear the music." Wow! How could I have known that the Spirit of God would use my simple act of love for my friend as a blessing to someone else?
Our acts of love and service reverberate beyond our imagination and become instruments through which God blesses others.
As we engage in acts of service to our friends and family, we sometimes find ourselves indirectly blessing others. Brian's reflection reminds us of how God can take our small faithful acts of kindness and multiply their impact. Brian intended to sing for Ezra, but indirectly blessed the nurse and the man across the hall. At times, God's call for us to offer compassion and care for one person, also indirectly answers the prayer of someone else nearby.
O Lord, open our eyes to the needs of those around us. Help us to be your voice and your hands of love. Amen.
- Brian A. Wolfe