Downloading Rebekah

Continuing my series, The Cloud, today based on the passages in Hebrews 11 & 12, we are downloading Abraham's daughter-in-law, Rebekah. Remember with me that Abraham and Sarah had their son, Isaac, long after they were of childbearing age. When it came time for Isaac to marry, Abraham was very careful and protective. He sent his faithful servant back to Abraham and Sarah’s families to find a wife for Isaac.

As in previous weeks, with focus on Rebekah, let’s identify what she might have to say to us as a member of the great cloud of witnesses who are cheering us on watching us run our race. I think Rebekah would tell us to give generously to others. “Invest your life in others. Be generous with your hugs, your time, your attention. Spend time every day to give to others.”

I want to take a look at one small act of generosity Rebekah did that changed history - not only her personal history, but the history of the world. Abraham carried God’s promise that he would be the father of many nations, that his offspring would be like the stars of the heavens, uncountable. He and Sarah were childless beyond the point of being able to bear children but by God’s hand, they conceived and had Isaac. Just one son. So the whole promise of God rested on Isaac finding a wife. It was very serious business.

We pick up the account in Genesis 24:12-15. Abraham’s servant arrived in the land of Abraham’s family. He sits near the local well to wait and asks God to show him the girl for Isaac. He actually asks God to identify the woman for his master Isaac by her offer to water his camels when he himself asked for a drink. This is how God confirmed the woman to the servant. Much to his joy, when the servant asked Rebekah for a drink, she offered to water the camels as well. Now, if we read this passage too fast, we miss something. This was NO SMALL OFFER. The servant had 10 camels. Each camel drinks about 20 gallons of water. Rebekah’s jug held between 2 and 5 gallons. At minimum, she had to make 40 trips hauling her full jug to water the camels. Conservatively, this was two hours of her time and a lot of her strength and energy that she generously shared with Abraham’s servant. Her motivation was simple generosity, irrational generosity.

So with these things being said, how would Rebekah break this down for us. What are the truths we can take away from her attitude and act of generosity?

1. You can’t be generous and legalistic at the same time. Reading about Rebekah makes me think about the tendency we have as humans to hold back, to sparingly share what we have to offer. I think Rebekah would jump out of the cloud and say that attitude is all wrong. She would say, give with abandon. Go beyond what is asked of you. Rebekah's response to the servant’s request set the course for her future and ours! She was in the bloodline of Jesus. I know she would tell us to be generous. Who knows what your generosity will set in motion. God loves a cheerful giver and He is able to bless us abundantly. When we give generously, He promises to provide all we need with plenty left over to share with others. 2. You can't walk the second mile until you've walked the first. Leave the “gotta have it now” mindset. That mindset is easily depicted in debt. Debt is a monument to impatience. As you walk that first mile, give what you can. Start with what you have. What did Rebekah have? She was strong and she had a pot. What you make happen for God's house, He will make happen for yours. Luke 16:10 proclaims if we are faithful with a little, He will bless us with much. This is not a money principle, it's a life principle. Be faithful with what you have. 3. You can't take it with you, but you can send it ahead. Matthew 6:19-20 tells us to store up treasure in heaven. This is the best insider trading tip you could ever have. It's ok to have things in this life, but it’s more important to invest in eternal things. 4. You can't wait for the feeling. Don’t live by pressure. Live by principle. Do what needs to be done first and you will get the feelings later. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Make the decision to be generous. Define the action of your generosity based on principle, not on feelings. Thank God in these moments of generosity and pray through decisions. They define what's next. 5. Every small act of generosity can make a difference. Give your life away in small ways. This is the DNA we want our culture to be. Imagine, if 1000 people each decide to be generous this week, think of the impact this could have. Matthew 10:42 mentions not losing our eternal reward if we offer a cup of cold water to the least of God’s followers. This means that our reward waits for us in heaven. God is faithful. 6. The impact of your generosity will outlive you. We are reaping benefits of those who went before us and we are impacting those in the future. John 4:38 says it this way, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Likewise, those beyond us will reap from our labor. 7. Finally, generosity is work unto the Lord. Matthew 25:40 explains that whatever we do for one of the least of our brothers and sisters, that we are doing it for Jesus. It's all for Him, for His purposes. No matter what. Whether you work in the nursery at church, help someone with their groceries in a parking lot, or smile at someone in passing, you are generous as unto Jesus, contributing to His purposes and having impact on others.

Give generously to others and make a difference. Take on the mentality and spirit of generosity. Be willing to invest yourself in others.
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