It seems that generosity would be easy if you were rich. If money were no object, you could and would give freely, right? If you had lots of free time, you would volunteer. If you didn’t have so many problems of your own, you would spend time listening to and helping others with their problems. How often have you prayed for God to give you more so that you can be generous. We often blame God for what we see as our scarcity, when we should, in fact, be thanking him for our provision. As we recognize our blessings and give of our resources to others, God’s provision flows into our life. When we have an abundance, we often protect and store it, and give God and others a few handouts. God says in Malachi 3:10, bring the tithe (10%) into the storehouse, which refers to the OT temple and the NT church. God will bless what we give and multiply it for His glory and for His kingdom. God specializes in turning what we see as insignificant into abundance.
Scriptures – Haggai 1:6; Ephesians 3:20; John 10:10; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11
Verses – You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! (Hg 1:6) Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us… (Ep 3:20) 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. (2 Co 9:8) You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Co 9:11)
Thought – The OT story of the prophet’s widow has some great insights into faith that leads to generosity. The widow was in debt with no foreseeable way out. Her debtor had come to take her children, who would be enslaved until the debt was paid. She asked God’s prophet Elisha for help. Elisha asked her, what do you have? She replied that she had nothing except some oil. Elisha is thinking of what she can do with what she has, but she sees what she has as nothing. He directs her to go to her neighbors and borrow as many containers as she can find. She is then instructed to shut herself and her children in their home and pour from the container she has, which contains a little oil, into the empty vessels. As she begins to pour, the oil keeps flowing. She fills container after container until all are filled and then the oil stops flowing. She had enough faith to follow Elisha’s instruction. It resulted in enough oil that could be sold to pay off all the debt with profits remaining to support her and her children. What do we learn? 1) Don’t diminish what you have! It is enough. 2) God can do great things with what seems insignificant. Just a little faith. Just a little faithfulness. Just 10% of your resources. 3) God’s abundance often follows your faith. Rather than asking God to give you an abundance so you can be generous, try being generous with what you have in faith and allow Him to bless and multiply it. He’ll do what only God can do.
Questions – How has God led you to be generous in times of scarcity? How did that play out? Do you always give joyfully? When have you given reluctantly? How has being generous resulted in blessings for you? How has the generosity of others touched your life?
Response – If you are not giving to God, giving to support your local church, start now. Malachi 3:10 is the only place in the Bible where God says, “Test me in this.” Give in faith and allow God to prove His Word is true.
Prayer – Dear God, thank you for providing for my needs. Allow my generosity to reflect my gratitude for all you’ve done in my life. I look forward to seeing what you will do as I pour into your kingdom and into the lives of others. Help me to trust you more each day and to solely depend upon your provision. In Jesus Name I pray, amen.