The Principle of Reciprocity
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Acts 10:4
Up until this time the gospel had been preached exclusively to the Jews. But all that was about to change: ‘One afternoon at about three o’clock, Cornelius had a vision. He saw an angel from God coming to him and calling him by name…“God has heard your prayers and knows about your gifts to the poor. Now send some men to Joppa for a man named Simon Peter”’ (vv. 3-5). As a result of Cornelius’ prayers and generosity, he became the first Gentile to hear the gospel and be saved. What a payoff! God hears the kind words you speak to others when they’re hurting. He sees your sacrificial giving when you can least afford it. By doing what you’re doing, you’re paving the way for God to help you. He’s storing it all up so that in your time of need you’ll have a rich account to draw on. A lady was praying about starting a pet-grooming business but she couldn’t afford to advertise. So she went to her local animal shelter and volunteered to groom the pets to increase their chances for adoption. Interestingly, the harder she worked, the more her own business grew by word of mouth until she ended up with more clients than she could handle. You say, ‘Does that mean if I don’t help others God won’t help me?’ Thankfully, no! God’s love is unconditional. But when you say no to an opportunity to give, you miss out on an opportunity to receive. The principle of reciprocity is simple: when you’re generous with others, God promises to be generous with you (see 2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Heavenly Father, help me be a person that gives, shares, listens and is concerned about others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen