Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. (Luke 6:38, NLT)
Every year, as I begin a new season, I ask the following question of myself:
“In what area of your life do you believe God most desires to work?”
At the beginning of this year, I contemplated this question, one word came to mind: generosity. I have struggled for most of my life with generosity, specifically in regard to money. I confess I am stingy, and I don’t like it! When God brought that word to mind, my prayer went something like this: Again, Lord? I feel like I’ve been working on this generosity thing for quite some time. Do you really want me to repeat it as my focus this year? Aren’t there more pressing issues you want me to explore?
Much begging, pleading, and petitioning went on before I finally gave in and agreed:
Okay! Alright! I surrender this ugly part of my heart to You. Lord, make me sensitive to Your leading in this area of my life. Please open doors and make it clear to me when you are calling me to be generous with Your good gifts. I really do love You, Lord, and I want to demonstrate my love by being generous with others. I ask these things in Your Holy Name, Lord Jesus, Amen.
In the weeks that followed my commitment to God, the word “generosity” kept floating through my thoughts. I wondered what God had in store for me.
One busy day after work, I was standing in line at the grocery store; there was a woman in front of me who was trying to use her food-stamps card, which is a government-issued card to help with food items. Every time this lady entered her password to activate the card, the machine refused to recognize it as valid. Becoming increasingly frustrated, she finally told the cashier that she would have to set her groceries aside and call the government.
My heart went out to her…how embarrassing all this must be! Then I felt that still, small voice in my heart say, “Why don’t you pay for her groceries?”
“What? Well, you know, Lord, if they were only $20, I would pay for them; but they are way more than triple that amount! I just can’t do that!”
“Why don’t you pay for her groceries?” that voice prodded once again.
“I don’t know what my husband would say if I did that. I don’t think I should without his permission.” ((When I don’t want to do something, I play this card…))
“Why don’t you pay for her groceries?” He was relentless!
I couldn’t get the thought out of my head, and I continued to argue with God as the cashier rang up my bill. Shaking inside, I asked myself, “Should I do this? I don’t know. Yes, you do! Quit fighting; isn’t this what you prayed for? Okay, okay! I give in! I’ve got it! I’ll do it!”
I turned to the cashier and asked, “Would it be okay if I paid for that woman’s groceries?”
The cashier was a little taken aback as she said, “You do realize that it’s close to eighty dollars?”
“Yes, I know, and I’m fine with that; would it be alright?” I replied, as if it was easy for me to hand over the money!
The transaction took just a moment of our time, and she looked at me and asked, “Do you want to tell her?”
I knew what the Lord wanted me to do.
“No, I think you should tell her,” I responded, and I walked out of the store. No – I actually floated! I could not believe what I was feeling; this incredible joy filled my soul as I walked out in wonder and amazement that God would give me such an incredible gift!
Oh, how selfish my heart has been, and what joy I have missed by allowing stinginess to invade my soul. What is wrong with me? Why do I wrestle with God when He knows best? Why do I quibble over a measly eighty dollars when my heavenly Father has given me a gift that all the words in the world cannot describe?
Jesus said: Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. (Luke 6:38, NLT)
How true I found this to be in my own life when I finally obeyed the promptings of God. That’s the miracle of generosity: when we give with a pure heart, not expecting anything in return, God gives us so much more than we can ever ask or imagine!
I am working on another gift of generosity that God led me to. It was very clear and I did not argue this time. It will be a stretch for me…it’s a year-long gift and a huge commitment for me since I rarely ever finish what I start…so, prayers welcomed here! This gift has just started May 2013 but I cannot wait to see what God has in store for this young man and the lesson He has prepared for me as well.
Lord, I confess that I have desired to cling to possessions and live like there is nothing more to life. Open my heart, my wallet, and my will to do whatever you call me to do. Enable me to see the needs of others, and grant me a passion to meet those needs with a generous and cheerful spirit. I ask these things in Your Holy and Precious Name, Lord Jesus, Amen.
Questions: Do you find yourself clinging to your money or possessions, as I had been? In what areas of your life is God calling you to be generous?
In His Grip,