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Openhearted Generosity

Today's Devotional

The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

No one ever died saying, “I’m so glad for the self-centered, self-serving, and self-protective life I lived,” author Parker Palmer said in a commencement address, urging graduates to “offer [themselves] to the world . . . with openhearted generosity.”

But, Parker continued, living this way would also mean learning “how little you know and how easy it is to fail.” Offering themselves in service to the world would require cultivating a “beginner’s mind” to “walk straight into your not-knowing, and take the risk of failing and failing, again and again—then getting up to learn again and again.”

It’s only when our lives are built on a foundation of grace that we can find the courage to choose such a life of fearless “openhearted generosity.” As Paul explained to his protégé Timothy, we can confidently “fan into flame” (2 Timothy 1:6) and live out of God’s gifting when we remember that it’s God’s grace that saves and calls us to a life of purpose (v. 9). It’s His power that gives us the courage to resist the temptation to live timidly in exchange for the Spirit’s “power, love and self-discipline” (v. 7).  And it’s His grace that picks us up when we fall, so that we can continue a lifelong journey of grounding our lives in His love (vv. 13–14).

How are you tempted to live timidly? How do God’s grace and power help you live more boldly for Him?

Dear God, thank You that I don’t have to live timidly, fearfully guarding myself from failure or hurt. Help me to lean into the courage You provide.


Paul’s encouragement to live a Spirit-empowered life of “power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7) echoes words from his letter to the Romans. There, the apostle wrote that believers need not “live in fear” because they are “heirs of God” (Romans 8:15, 17). In Romans 1:16, Paul testified of not being “ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation.” In 2 Timothy, the apostle encouraged Timothy to “join with” him in not being “ashamed of the testimony about our Lord” (1:8). Instead, Timothy could live in God’s power (vv. 8–9)—the power that “destroyed death” (v. 10).

By |2023-08-24T02:33:33-04:00August 24th, 2023|
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