Are You There, God? Day 3- Generosity
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38, ESV)
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed. (Proverbs 19:17, ESV)
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6, ESV)
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13, ESV)
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:25, ESV)
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)—is that you? In the early church, the believers shared their wealth and earthly goods, giving to one another so that everyone was taken care of. This is a practice that, for the large part, has fallen by the wayside. If we are completely honest, most of us give out of our abundance, with very little personal cost to ourselves. We spend our money on the things we need and even most of the things we want, and then we give what’s left over for the things of God. This is contrary to Scripture—and because of that, I cringe. How often have I given to the point that it cost me something personally? Not often enough.
Generosity is a big deal to God, and when I am not characterized as being a generous person, I miss the mark. The kind of giving He wants from us isn’t about being noticed or admired by others, but rather quietly providing for those in need out of a love for the Lord and a willingness to please Him. His Word tells us that if we want to be blessed we must bless others. As a result, my refusal to bless others with my own generosity places a hindrance in my prayer life.
Generosity is about money, yes, but it’s also about our time. Many don’t have very much at all and can barely meet the needs of their families. But time is an area in which we all can be generous; we can meet the needs of others by willingly stepping in to help. Maybe it’s running to the store for an elderly neighbor, or watching the kids down the street so their mom can get out and do some shopping. Maybe it’s taking time for coffee with a friend in a difficult situation. These are all opportunities for generosity that can bless others greatly.
The Bible reminds us that if we sow (give) sparingly, we will reap (receive) sparingly. In other words, if we are not generous people, we will not receive generosity—not from others and not from God. If we consider this, we can see how our giving has a direct impact on our prayer life. If God teaches us that giving to others reflects His character in us, then when we do not reflect that character because of our stinginess, why should we receive blessing from His hand? It should give us pause and encourage us to carefully consider our giving—not only because we’re commanded to be giving people, but because we want to keep open communication with God open by pleasing Him. If we expect to have our prayers answered, we need to be people who are known for our giving and generous nature—the nature of our God.