I believe God wants us to excel in the grace of giving. To live generous lives. To give cheerfully. To model extravagant, lavish generosity. We have an amazing Father in Heaven who has given us everything. When we take the time and look around us, His gifts are everywhere. He is everywhere. I don’t think we’re called to live with closed fists, but rather open hands. Freely we have received – freely we can give. We can give out of the overflow of what’s been given to us.
God brought me quite a few Scriptures on this topic today, and I encourage you to search out even more! Here are some of my favorites… Enjoy!
“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice… He has distributed freely [he has given to the poor and needy]; his righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) endures forever; his horn shall be exalted in honor.” – Psalm 112:5, 9 (AMP)
“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” – Proverbs 11:17 (NIV)
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV)
“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” – Proverbs 11:24-25 (MSG)
“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” – Proverbs 11:28 (NIV)
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” – Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)
“But I have [your full payment] and more; I have everything I need and am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent me. [They are the] fragrant odor of an offering and sacrifice which God welcomes and in which He delights. And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:18-19 (AMP)
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
We’re called to be kind, to give freely, and refresh others. To be generous and willing to share. To give to those in need. To trust God to provide for all of our needs. This is contrary to how the world tells us to live. And it’s contrary to our flesh – our sinful, selfish nature. We want to keep, hoard, hang on. God is calling us to excel in this grace of giving. To let go. To bless others.
As a stay-at-home mom and wife in a family of six with a single income, I totally understand how tight finances can be. I am all for having a budget (and sticking to it as closely as you can). I believe in tithing to the local church. And I believe that we can get creative with our generosity. Don’t let money, or a lack thereof, keep you from being generous.
I want to share two more passages with you before I get practical. I love how Paul wrote to the Corinthians about this issue. If you’re reading this on your cell phone, stick with me! Both passages are a little lengthy. 🙂
“Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians. This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives. That’s what prompted us to ask Titus to bring the relief offering to your attention, so that what was so well begun could be finished up. You do so well in so many things—you trust God, you’re articulate, you’re insightful, you’re passionate, you love us—now, do your best in this, too. I’m not trying to order you around against your will. But by bringing in the Macedonians’ enthusiasm as a stimulus to your love, I am hoping to bring the best out of you. You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich. So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written, ‘Nothing left over to the one with the most, nothing lacking to the one with the least.’” – 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 (MSG)
“[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, ‘prompt to do it’) giver [whose heart is in his giving]. And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever! [Ps. 112:9.] And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity]. Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous, and [your generosity as it is] administered by us will bring forth thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (AMP)
I love both of these passages. They are rich with generosity! And I love the heart of the Macedonians. They gave what they could, and with the right attitude. God loves when we partner with Him to give to those around us.
I encourage you to connect with your Heavenly Father. Listen to His leading. He may put someone on your heart. Be His hands and feet. Be a vessel, used by Him. Boldly step out in faith – it doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong. If you’re practicing generosity, if you’re excelling in the grace of giving – you’re doing right! You are showing love to others, motivated by His love. Galatians 5:6 says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Let your faith take form and be acted upon in love.
Remember the goal isn’t to be seen by others, to check off a good deed on a list, or to feel good about yourself. The goal is to love. The goal is to be kind. To rightly reflect the Lord in a hurting world. To see a need and meet it. Another reminder – don’t neglect those closest to you. 1 Timothy 5:8 calls us to provide for our relatives, especially our immediate families. Make sure you’re blessing your spouse and your kiddos!
So let’s get practical! What can you do? The possibilities are truly endless, but I’ll give you a few ideas to get you started…
- Give Words – encourage others, build them up, strengthen them, speak hope and life. You can do this face-to-face, in an email, phone call, text, or a card or a letter in the mail. (I LOVE getting real mail… it’s such a relief from the bills and ads!)
- Give Time – spend time with people. Schedule it if you have to. Be intentional! Meet at the park, go for a walk. Share a meal, practice hospitality. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t wait for your house to be spotless or your kids to behave better. People will appreciate your time. And there’s no better time than the present!
- Give Gifts – get creative! Have fun giving meaningful gifts! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of the time people will simply appreciate the fact that you thought of them. Do some research; find out what they like. Bring them their favorite coffee. Use your skills and talents – make something!
One of my best friends, Sonja, sets an amazing example in generosity. She excels in the grace of giving! She prioritizes people, blessing them with her time. She’s purposeful with her words, always quick to encourage and support. And she’s so incredibly thoughtful with the gifts that she gives. She does what she can, and with a cheerful heart!
My dear friend Sonja, my son Elijah, and me
“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” – Mother Teresa