Living in generosity is much more than giving money.
Giving of our time, attention and caring are also ways to live from abundance. Think of how you are with unexpected requests for your time. Do you bristle, with a bit of annoyance, when someone reaches out to you because of your busy calendar? Do you cut the person off when they are speaking with you because it’s taking too much time? Do you avoid the question “can I help?” when you know there is a need?
Questions like these are hard to ask, but important for us to grapple with when our deep desire is to reflect the image of God.
What moves you forward when you think of the abundance of God and His generous nature? Going back to the questions the CPA asked, what we do with our money and our time tells a story. What is that story expressing about us? When I think of the woman who gave her unexpected insurance check to the mom who needed it, I can’t help but wonder what plans she may have had for that money. Sounds like it was enough that she could have done something meaningful or at least fun! What was in her heart or what was it about the way she understood God as Provider and God of Abundance?
What do we do to get ready to live in the freedom of generosity? Where is the opportunity for us to make adjustments?
Jesus, when He saw the thousands of people who needed food, He gave thanks to the Father for what they had a set out to meet the need.
Generosity is not a box that is checked, but rather a heart that pours out. Think of a time when you felt spent, maybe at the end of a long day or long week, and all you wanted to do is rest. Suddenly, someone reaches out to ask for a bit of your time? What was it like to show up for them when you didn’t think you had one ounce of energy left? How was it refreshing for them? How was it refreshing for you?
One approach to living is to ask the question “how can I reserve?” This can be a wise question, for even Joseph acknowledged there are years of famine and storehouses that need to be filled in preparation. Perhaps the scales tip towards scarcity when preparation becomes about self-preservation.
If you help someone from a place of who God is as Provider, I believe there is a supernatural refreshing that happens for us. It is a gift to the giver, because of the trust placed in the relationship with the Father, rather than our own strength. We run out of strength all the time, but God doesn’t. We have a budget, but God doesn’t. We make plans with people we like, but God makes plans for us with people He loves.
Other questions that have come to my mind when it comes to generosity include:
“What would You have me to do, Lord?” “Lord, how do you want to show up in generous ways through me?”
There have been times where I have been tempted to offer generosity with strings attached. Without fully realizing it, I was offering something to someone in the hopes of eventually receiving something in return. I have come to learn that that is not true generosity. Why? Because I’ve now created a “beholden” relationship. Yet, with God, He had no strings attached with His generosity with me. I’m not beholden to God. I’m simply and profoundly grateful.
Generosity has no Strings or Bargaining Chips
True generosity given in freedom reflects the heart of God. It refreshes others and in turn you are refreshed. No obligation. Generosity is a cheerful stance for the giver and the receiver. Holy generosity is unconditional and reflective of God’s true nature.
When you are taking these steps and trusting God more fully, you may find it requires bravery early on and at specific times. Sometimes it feels like a big ask or step to take in faith. Yet, that gives us another opportunity to grow in our relationship with God trust in God of abundance. Nothing must happen outside of us because something has already happened inside of us!
Consider the lilies…then consider our Father, and ask yourself a question: “How will I live and display the generosity of God in my work, family, business, community?”
Now, back to the CPA on stage. Imagine he starts his talk like this: “I’d like to tell you about someone who is a living example of freeing generosity, and this is why. Now, imagine that person is you.”
I hope you are inspired to explore your own ways of living from generosity knowing you have a God who provides…for you and others.