When I’m Generous and When I’m Not

Wealth and riches are in their houses; and their righteousness endures forever.  Even in darkness light dawns for the upright; for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.  

Psalm 112:3-4

We once had a family friend in the small town where I grew up who was quite wealthy.  My aunt and uncle took him in as a young man when he was destitute.  He never left.  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 food on the table.  As a child, he declared, “I swear I’ll never be poor!”   His entire life was shaped by those words.

With a vow so far from God’s heart, it’s good for me to think about God’s generosity. The biblical concept of generosity is this ~ Someone who loves to give and just can’t help himself.  He almost dances when the opportunity comes his way.  

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, or fear that I will get nothing back.  Greed is not always at the center of why a person withholds.  What is the cure?  One I might not expect.  Paul said, You will be enriched 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 recklessly, others won’t understand it and just might give glory to God.

If I’m not a good giver, it is only because I have not fully realized how much God has given to 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 yet drawn upon.  Only when I stop living like an orphan, looking to the earth to give me what I need and looking 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 am compelled 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

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