Generosity

coinsWe have been given many opportunities, as a family, to be generous to others — generous with our possessions, our money, our time, ourselves. Sometimes we have missed the opportunity, but we try not to. My parents, particularly my father, instilled in me that generosity is a very good thing. One of his mantras that has stuck with me through the years is “It’s only money.” I can hear him say it so clearly. It’s only money. So often we let our money control us, all the while, thinking that we are the ones controlling our money. If we can’t hold it with open hands, then it’s controlling us. So, a couple of years ago, we purposed ourselves as a family to be generous. I won’t detail the giving, because that’s private, and not important to this lesson. If we heard of a need, we tried to follow the command of Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” It’s not always in our power to do something big, but we always tried to do what we could. Sometimes, we didn’t even know of a need specifically, but we just gave things away anyways. The important thing for me was that we kept our hands open. If I had something that I wasn’t in need of, then I felt I should give it to someone in need. Because, here’s the bottom line, I know that when I do need something, I have a God who will provide it.

I’ll share a brief story: We needed a travel mirror for our vacation last summer when Micah was just four months old. They cost something totally unreasonable in the store, like $30. I didn’t have $30 to buy one, nor the opportunity to go to the store and get one. So I prayed and told God that we would really like to have one before our trip (which was in like, a day, so I gave him a lot of time to come through, you know.) A friend of mine from childhood saw my post on Facebook and contacted me that she was able to loan me hers. I was thrilled. She even went the extra mile to bring it all the way over to my house. When she got here, she told me that I could keep the mirror. I was even more pleased. But the next part of the story was the best! She said that she had been intended to sell it in her garage sale, but felt compelled to give it away to me instead as she prepared to collect it from her garage and bring it to me. On her way to my house, she stopped at the ATM where the elderly woman in front of her accidentally drove away leaving a large amount of cash in the ATM. My friend chased her down and gave her the cash she had forgotten. To say thank you, the woman gave my friend $25, which is what she paid for the mirror and more than what she hoped to sell it for. See because she chose to be obedient to God and to give me that mirror, God was generous towards her as well. When we are generous to others, then we invite God to meet our needs through his own generosity. He can compel any human being at any time to give any thing to any one. So why should we withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in our power to act?

You are probably aware that recently we have become the ones in need. Sophie’s private speech therapy bills are projected to be astronomical. We don’t know what God is going to do over the next year of her life, so we’re not quaking in our boots thinking about these bills, but we are trying to be wise and have asked for support in our finances. In our fundraising, have seen the truth of Malachi 3:10 where God talks about being faithful in tithing: “‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” We have been so blessed by the financial support that we have received for Speech for Sophie. It is really so humbling to see how loved we are by our family and friends, our church, and our God. I’ve been speechless and moved to tears on several occasions as I have watched God throw open the floodgates of heaven, moving different people to bless us financially. I’m humbled and blessed and amazed. We have had the opportunity to be generous, and we will continue taking those opportunities as much as is in our power to do so. Just a few weeks ago we had a chance to give to a special event, a free concert sharing the gospel with a nearby town. I felt urged to give, but my gift was little. I chose to obey, remembering the words of Proverbs and the story of the widow who gave her two coins – a fraction of a penny (Mark 12). Jesus says that she put more into the treasury than all the others because she gave out of her poverty, all that she had. I won’t boast that I gave all I had. I could have done better, and in hindsight, I wish that I had. But I will boast in God’s generosity. The very next day after we gave that small offering, we were given a gift … ready for this?? … 100 TIMES larger than what we put in. Literally, 100 times larger. All I could do was cry. How can God be this good to me? How can he love me and my girl THIS much? But this pales, doesn’t it? in comparison to what else he’s done for us.

I don’t share any of this to be boastful, to toot my own horn, or to guilt anyone to giving a financial gift to Sophie. (Certainly not!) But I am learning an important lesson about the way we view our stuff, our time, our money, our interests and abilities. I’m learning about stewardship. I’m learning that God has given me what I have so that I can use it to bless others. There are SO many ways to give! And when I choose to do that, it is SO GOOD. And I want others to know this goodness. I want others to be able to loosen their hold on their “stuff”  so that they can enjoy God’s generosity. Because it’s way better than yours and mine. In your hour of need, God will open the floodgates to bless you with more than you could ever imagine.

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