WHEN I’M NOT A GIVER
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. The one who contributes, in generosity. Romans 12:8
There was an old man in the small town where I grew up who was quite wealthy. His life’s goal was to amass a fortune and he didn’t care how he did it. Was he driven by greed? In his case, no. Fear was his taskmaster. He lived through the depression with a mother and several siblings. Hungry, he had gone to work at seven years old to deliver papers in order to put some food on the table. He had taken a vow to never be poor and his entire life was shaped by those words.
In practice, he was stingy. If he gave you ten dollars, it was with strings attached. He expected repayment of some type; he was so afraid of having nothing in his hands.
Paul describes the Christian as one who is never skimpy. (One of the Greek implications of generous.) He loves to give and just can’t help himself. He almost dances in celebration when the opportunity comes his way.
I think I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t give like this. In fact, far from it. What’s my problem?”
Like the man who was afraid of having nothing, there are many reasons why I don’t give generously. Fear of deprivation, fear of giving away something that I’m attached to, fear that it won’t be received, fear that I will get nothing back. Greed is not always at the center of why a person withholds.
What is the cure? Ah, one I didn’t expect to find this morning. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor. 9:11 God promises, through Christ, to make us so rich that we’ll give it away – confident that He will more than compensate. And when we give so recklessly, others will not understand it and be prone to give glory to God.
If I’m not a good giver, for whatever reason, it is only because I have not fully realized how much God has given me and how much I have yet to claim. How well do I know His promises? There are many resources from heaven’s bank account that I’ve not drawn upon. How much have I received of His healing? He is not repelled by any need when I bring my broken heart to Him.
Only when I stop living as an orphan, looking to the earth to give me what I need and look to my Father whose arms are full of gifts, will I be overwhelmed by His generosity. I’ll know I’m on the right track when I just have to share it with somebody. Until then, I’ve only just begun to realize what is mine in Christ.
I know some people who love to give. I think they love to do it more than I do. I’m looking hard at the reasons, Lord. Amen