Barbara Holt |Cleveland, Tennessee
The generosity of God astounds me! Because of His love, and not by any works I have done, He extended His salvation to me and accepted me into His household. I’m no longer the person I was. Old things have passed away, all things have become new, and I’m now a beloved child of Father God.
And yet, His love keeps giving! He not only saves me from my sins, He promises to walk with me daily, guide my steps when I don’t know which way to turn, answer prayers about my deepest concerns, and shower me with blessings.
Because He is the perfect, loving Father that I can trust with my life, I can depend on the fact that He will provide for me and always do what is best for me. No one will ever love me and care for me the way He does. Why? Simply because I am His child.
It shouldn’t be difficult to comprehend that He loves us all like that. He has no favorites; we’re all deeply loved by Him. So when He looks over the earth and sees His children’s needs, He goes into action. He starts orchestrating events and whispering in ears to fulfill the needs of His people. I’m sure it’s happened to you before. You received money from an unexpected source, enough to take care of the deficit in your pocket. Or someone said just the right words to encourage you when you were feeling down. Or an opportunity arose that could only be explained as an answer to prayer. God specializes in fulfilling needs! Why? Because He truly loves us.
I love the way God showers us with blessings, so we can turn around and bless others. Remember the things He has done for you? God prompted hearts to fulfill your needs, they obeyed, and as a result, you were blessed. That’s how He would like to work through you. He wants you to have a generous heart.
Second Corinthians chapter 9 gives a good description of the early church’s generosity to others. The apostle Paul begins with, “Now concerning the ministering to the saints…I know your willingness.” He exhorts them to “prepare (their) generous gift beforehand, which (they had) previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.” He goes on to say, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” It is clear from this passage that having a willing heart is the key to having a generous heart.
Now let’s look at the next verses. “And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have (sown) and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”
Another great truth that we can draw from this chapter is that God supplies to us the means to fulfill what He prompts our hearts to give. This is the exciting part of being a good steward. We can freely give because God Himself provides!
Take note of the previous phrase, “which causes thanksgiving through us to God” and pair that with the following: “For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men.”
The saints in the early church recognized that the generous gifts they received were a result of obedience to God by their brothers. This caused rejoicing and thanksgiving to God, not only because needs were being met, but because of their willing obedience.
God has no lack or shortage when it comes to providing for us because He possesses it all. He promises to “provide all our needs according to His riches in glory” (Phillippians 4:19) through His inexhaustible supply of resources (Psalm 89:11; Exodus 19:5; Psalm 24:1). Everything that God provides for us is His. It’s not mine. It’s not yours. We’re just stewards of what He has given—time, talents, abilities, education, houses, lands, or money. He has entrusted us with these things, so through our obedience to Him, we can bless others.
Sometimes, God does things in reverse order. He will supply the resources after He inspires you to give, and often, He will ask for more than you think is possible to give. This could cause you to worry somewhat until you remind yourself that God knows what He is doing. He knows what you have, what He will provide, and how it will all work out for your good.
The way God responds to sacrificial giving will surprise you. The widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17) was about to eat her last meal then die. Verse 9 reveals that God commanded her to provide for Elijah. I’m sure she realized she had only enough food for herself and her son, then it would all be gone. Yet, she didn’t allow her extreme poverty to keep her from being obedient to the word of the Lord, and as a result, God sustained her and her son through the remainder of the famine.
Jesus reminded us to not worry about material things. “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31–33 NIV).
Remember, you are God’s child and it’s His responsibility to take care of you. Your part is to be obedient by being a faithful steward (1 Corinthians 4:2). God will not forget you. How could He? After all, He is so aware of you that He knows how many hairs are on your head (Luke 12:7)! I love how the following Scripture takes away any potential worries about the future: “Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4 NKJV). It is such a comforting thought to know that God will always take care of us. That should make it easier for us to give faithfully whenever He tells us to. As Christians, we have a wonderful opportunity to show the love of God to others. Sometimes it’s best shown through our complete trust in Him by giving from a generous heart.
George Muller is one of the greatest examples of a life that was faithful in stewardship. Known for never making financial requests or going into debt, he provided housing, education, and care for over 10,000 orphans. He also established 117 schools that provided Christian education to over 120,000 children. In his autobiography, he is quoted as saying, “I want to show these people that God is faithful and can be trusted without reservation.”
God was able to use George Muller to effectively minister to thousands of children. And though enormous amounts of money passed through his hands, he faithfully provided for this ministry without accumulating any wealth for himself. I have to believe that he completely understood that whatever came into his possession, it didn’t belong to him, but it belonged to God (Psalm 89:11; Jeremiah 27:5).
When we freely give from our resources, we show a trust in God that grabs the attention of a world that’s selfishly grasping for all it can get. Having a generous heart is necessary for the spreading of the Gospel, the helping of the poor, and showing the love of Jesus to a world full of people searching for what only God can supply. Like George Muller, we can be an instrument of blessing through our giving. All it takes is a generous heart.