You Never Know!
We started the idea of prayerfully picking one word to focus on for a whole year as we begin a new year, back several years ago. My first one word was generous. I thought I was a fairly generous person and was surprised that the Holy Spirit had impressed this on my mind. I had a list of other words I wanted to focus on, but generous kept coming to the forefront. So, I went with it.
It turned out to be a tremendous year of growth. While I could claim to be generous if I compared myself to others (that is NEVER a wise or good thing), I discovered there were still areas where I operated out of a deficit mentality. Too many of us, including me, believe there’s never enough. That mentality causes anyone to be more stingy than God wants us to be. We act as if we give what we have, we might not have enough of what we need. It betrays a lack of trust in a good Father.
So, one of the conscious things I did was give to a person with a very real and legitimate need. I gave over a thousand dollars. I got back what, at the time, seemed like a thank you that was muted or downplayed. Okay. It was a great lesson. It was part of what God was teaching me. Generosity isn’t about getting a good response or being thanked.
Now, go forward several years. In a casual conversation with the person I had helped, they mentioned how my generosity had influenced them to become generous with others. They were learning to look for opportunities to be kind and generous. Wow, I never saw that coming.
It reminded me of my life motto – Faithfulness, not success. God affirmed that motto again as he reminded me that he will take our faithfulness and use it in ways we could never imagine. I was faithful to doing what God asked me to do and then I left the results to God. You just never know how an act of kindness or obedience will be used by God to touch multiple people. He used that opportunity to change me and another person, and who knows where it will stop.
I love what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. Before I quote it, please try to read this afresh. This is NOT about giving your tithe or giving to the church. I know, that is how it is almost always used. I’m sorry for that. But that was not the original context. The original context was that Paul was gathering funds for the poor in Jerusalem. What he said under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is exactly what we all need to hear today – 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
So, let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). You never know what God might do through the good you do!
Finally, one of the reasons I LOVE our church is that we have a high value of practicing generosity. If you didn’t see it yet, check out our most recent Generosity Report.