CGG Weekly, August 28, 2020

"There is a myth that those who do humanitarian work have a saviour mentality, but the relationship is reciprocal."
Meghan Markle

The notes on Luke 6:38 in the New Spirit-​Filled Life Study Bible read:

There is a universal law of divine reciprocity. You give; God gives in return. When you plant a seed, the ground yields a harvest. That is a reciprocal relationship. The ground can only give to you as you give to the ground. You put money in the bank, and the bank returns interest. That is reciprocity.

We are all probably familiar with the word "reciprocity," but a dictionary definition might still help. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines it as a "mutual action and reaction." It derives from a Latin word, reciprocus, that means "moving backward and forward."

In a recent YouTube video by Scott Adams, the author of the syndicated cartoon, Dilbert, he related a story about an 18-year-old African-American man from Buffalo, New York. Watching the news after the recent protests in his hometown, the teen-aged Antonio Gwynn, Jr., saw the extent of the debris left over by looters. Glass and trash littered the streets, so on his own, he got started early, collected some cleaning supplies, and began sweeping and cleaning up some of the damage caused by the rioters.

Antonio spent ten hours serving his neighbors. Others who showed up later to help were pleasantly surprised that he had already done most of the back-breaking work himself.

Gwynn's story made its way to social media, and details of his selfless act eventually came to 27-year-old Matt Block. Scrolling through Gwynn's Facebook page, Block saw that the young man had earlier asked for advice about buying a car. Block decided to show his appreciation for what the young man had done by giving him his own 2004 Mustang Convertible. He had wanted to sell the car but felt that giving it to Gwynn was a better way to place it where it would truly be appreciated. Gwynn's late mother, who died in 2018, had driven an almost identical vehicle, making it one of the most meaningful gifts he could have received.

The story gets better. The law says that a person cannot drive a car without insurance, so a local insurance agent gave him a year's worth of insurance for free. And then, nearby Medaille College gave him a full scholarship to study business and mechanics. As Adams reflected, "They gave him a car, car insurance, and they paid for college [be]cause he spent ten hours sweeping the streets . . . and asking for nothing."

He added that, while the results may not always be so dramatic, reciprocity works every time. It works because, when we do something for someone without asking for anything in return, the recipients place themselves under an obligation. People feel compelled to return the favor.

The phenomenon has been studied and proven by noted psychologist Robert Cialdini. His research shows that, "if you do something for someone first, they are more likely to reciprocate. And, the ‘favors' don't have to be equivalent—a small favor can beget a bigger return favor" (Roger Dooley, "Reciprocity Power: A Study That May Shock You"). It should not surprise us as it is a law that God has put into the very fabric of the universe. Galatians 6:9 reads, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest . . . if we do not give up" (New International Version).

Lord Robert Edmiston, founder of Christian Vision, writes:

Luke 6:38 [English Standard Version throughout quotation] says, "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over . . .. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." Here again is a reciprocal benefit.

Proverbs 11:24 says, "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Reciprocity.

Galations (sic) 6:7-8: "God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." Reciprocity.

It is a principle. Don't ask me how it works, but it does.

Lord Edmiston may not know how it works, but we know it works because God has created it to act as a universal law. It is like a spiritual version of Newton's Third Law of Motion: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." We see it in many other scriptures as well, like Ecclesiastes 11:1: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days," and Acts 20:35, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

God's way is the way of give, and true giving always receives an equitable return. Even God expects a return on His investments in us. We should take time to reflect on how much He has done for us and then consider what we can do in return.

We know that He is faithful in providing for us and in rewarding us exponentially for the good we do, as Luke 6:38 promises. But we need to dig deeper, to contemplate what the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:32, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you."

Paul's closing phrase gently reminds us that Christians literally owe Him for everything. Not only has God created the world and all else besides—for our benefit—but He initiated the relationship with us, calling us to Him when we were going on our merry way, oblivious to Him and His purposes. Then, He gave His Son as payment for our sins and gave us a new life in the Spirit. He has been in us ever since, guiding and directing our steps toward the Kingdom of God.

So, how can we repay God for all He has done? Another way of asking the question is, "What can you give to someone who has everything?" In Part Two, we will consider what our reciprocal response to God's goodness toward us needs to be.

World News Highlights

'Disgusting' Nancy Pelosi Sparks Backlash After Branding Republicans 'Domestic Enemies'
The Express   25-Aug-20

Looming Middle East Arms Race Sparks Fear of Unprecedented Regional War
The Washington Free Beacon   28-Aug-20

U.S. Mulls Repercussions for Europe's Alliance With Iran
The Washington Free Beacon   27-Aug-20

2 People Shot to Death During Protest Over Kenosha Shooting
Associated Press   26-Aug-20

Huge Brawl Breaks Out in Portland as Proud Boys and Antifa Fight With Baseball Bats and Pepper Spray
The US Sun   23-Aug-20

Watch: Kenosha Residents Fire Warning Shots as Rioters Threaten Neighborhoods
Breitbart   24-Aug-20

Five Countries That Could Be Next to Make Peace With Israel
The Jerusalem Post   16-Aug-20

More Than Half of San Francisco Storefronts Closed Due to Pandemic
CBS San Francisco (Channel 5)   24-Aug-20

Who Warns Coronavirus Vaccine Alone Won't End Pandemic: 'We Cannot Go Back to the Way Things Were'
CNBC   21-Aug-20

'Polishing the Gun': China, U.S. Tensions Raise Taiwan Conflict Fears
Reuters   26-Aug-20

Coronavirus Lifts Government Debt to Wwii Levels—cutting It Won't Be Easy
The Wall Street Journal   23-Aug-20

Iran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad Call for 'Uprising' After Uae-Israel Deal
The Jerusalem Post   24-Aug-20

Swarm of 'Armed Anarchists' Wielding Axes and Guns Descend on Denver Police Hq and 'Shoot Fireworks at Cops'
The US Sun   24-Aug-20

Amazon Ceo Jeff Bezos Becomes the World's First $200 Billion Man
The Wrap   26-Aug-20

Tech Firm Releases Pay-By-Face System in California City
Fox 5 (New York)   24-Aug-20

Detroit Police Arrest 42 People as Protesters, Authorities Clash After Weeks of Calm
Yahoo/USA Today   23-Aug-20

Wisconsin Protests After Us Police Shoot Black Man in Back
Yahoo/AFP   24-Aug-20

Turkey's Erdogan Warns Greece Against Taking 'Path to Ruin'
Press TV   26-Aug-20

China Fires Missiles in South China Sea 'In Warning to Us' After Plane Entered No-Fly Zone
The Express   26-Aug-20

New Transcripts

1161c: Is Education the Answer? (Part 4)
Given by John W. Ritenbaugh on 01-Jun-13

1163c: Persecution From the Nones?
Given by John W. Ritenbaugh on 15-Jun-13

1394: Lamentations (Part One)
Given by Richard T. Ritenbaugh on 26-Aug-17

1475: Hebrews (Part Two): Who Was Jesus?
Given by John W. Ritenbaugh on 23-Feb-19

1559c: Where Do You Belong?
Given by Mark Schindler on 22-Aug-20

FT94-12: The Judgments
Given by John W. Ritenbaugh on 27-Sep-94

Prayer Requests

New prayer request updates have been posted for the following people:

Jerry Biles
Howard Henry
Janae Lauricella
Vicky Roemhild

From the Archives: Featured Sermon

Hundred-Fold Return
by Martin G. Collins

In this offertory message, Martin Collins, focusing on the parable of the sower, reminds us that as the Word of God has been compared to seed, our money or currency has also been compared to seed. The terms hundred percent, hundred times, and hundred-fold are not synonymous. A hundredfold is an undetermined number representing complete productivity. Everything we sow in our life will eventually yield a seed-time harvest; we will reap what we sow. If we sow sparingly, we will reap an austere harvest, but if we sow abundantly, we will reap a hundredfold, bearing bountiful fruit, if we wait patiently and expectantly. God's seed time and harvest principles are irrevocable.

From the Archives: Featured Article

God's Way of Give at the Feast of Tabernacles
by Staff

God commands us to present ourselves at His Feast and give as we are able. This article describes many ways we can give at the Feast—and many of them will not cost us a cent!

Holy Day Schedule

Please note that all times are in the Eastern time zone.
Holy Day Date Starting Time
Feast of Trumpets, AM September 19, 2020 10:30 AM
Feast of Trumpets, PM September 19, 2020 2:30 PM
Day of Atonement September 28, 2020 2:30 PM

Friday Night Bible Study

The next Bible Study will be Hebrews (Part 6), given by John W. Ritenbaugh on Friday 28-Aug-20. The Bible Study will be continuously available from 6:00 pm Friday (EST) and all day Saturday.