I know what you’re thinking: Money.
Ha. Ha. That’s always what we think of when the word generosity comes up. We think of tithing… that 10 percent we feel guilty about for not giving.
But generosity, true generosity goes so far beyond that, that 10 percent becomes a joke.
First, generosity is not only about money. Truth be told, many times we think once we’ve given “our fair share,” we’re off the hook on this one. But not so fast.
Generosity is about how much you give from your heart… not your wallet.
Are you generous with your time? Are you generous with your talents? Or do you always demand compensation for these two areas? Are you generous with your friends—do you share God with them? Are you generous with your church—do you say yes to things you are called to do (by God), and let others step in for things you are not, or do you horde church service like cookies so you can bribe God with all your good deeds?
Generous doesn’t mean giving until it hurts and then finding a way to get blood from a turnip. Generous means giving out of your overflow. Which of course means there should be some overflow first. If you’ve been following and doing the lessons, you’ve been getting overflow. Now it’s time to share that overflow.
Have you shared what you’ve learned with someone else? Have you shared what God is doing in your life? That’s a lot scarier than putting a five in the plate as it comes around.
Don’t get me wrong. Money is a component as well. As you walk this path, God will ask you to step forward with your time, with your talents, and with your money. When He whispers to you to give, give. No matter what that is. He may ask that you send someone on a mission trip or on retreat. He may ask that you help fund the new organ or transportation to church for the lady in need. He may ask a lot of things, and many are going to take every drop of generosity we have to give, they are going to take great faith. Do it anyway.
I would also like to offer this. We make giving so difficult. One of the things that is most needed in our world is a sense that we matter to others. We are increasingly isolated as extended families break up and move away from one another. As even core families break up into divorce. It is as if people are becoming invisible to one another. We are a part of a crowd or a group. We are not seen on a personal basis. So we are overlooked, and we begin to believe that our contribution would make no difference anyway. So we offer nothing.
It is critical that we as believers stand against this rising tide of group-mentality. God is a personal God, and so should we be personal with one another. I believe that all of us ask the same two questions of others:
Do you see me?
Do I matter to you (or am I important to you)?
You can see this starkly in children. Children will go out of their way to be “seen.” They draw pictures, play sports, and fight—all to get our attention. They want to know that we see them. The second question is: do I matter to you? A child who gets a “yes” answer to the first question but a “no” answer to the second is going to be a very sad child. They may withdraw; they may also fight back.
In my life since God showed me these two questions, I have seen how much power we really have in others’ lives. Simply by making it a point to answer these two questions in a personal way with those God sends our way, God can make a very visible mark in this world. Take a moment to say hi, to smile, to make that call, to send that note. Be generous in giving God’s love to others.
As I said on the Joy Day… I often throw my arms out to greet a friend. This is a very powerful way to say, “I see you! And you matter to me a great deal!”
Be generous with your answering of these two questions with those in your life. Even with your smiles to people on the street.
I once heard that “You can’t out-give God,” and I can attest to this truth as much in the realm of deep personal relationships as I can in the monetary realm. Whatever you give out will come back to you tenfold… at least.
Get close to God, then make it easy for others get close to you so that the overflow of God’s love for you flows into their lives as well. You will be amazed how quickly their own fountains start to overflow onto others. It’s a great way to live!
Dear Lord, You own the universe, and I am Your child. Why am I being so stingy with Your love and Your wealth that flows into my life? Help me, Lord. Help me to open my hands so that what flows in from You can flow through me and out to others. Help me to learn to be a channel for You in the world. Amen.
Record your thoughts.
You have now made it three weeks. Please record anything you would like to say about the past three weeks here.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2008