A Generous Heart
You shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the Lord has blessed you with, you shall give to him. -- Deuteronomy 15:14
One of my favorite sayings is, "I was born selfish, but I was born again generous." I can't begin to tell you how much joy giving has brought to our lives as a family. Being givers in God's kingdom is the most fun we have ever had. It has resulted in a more exciting life than we could ever have imagined.
Some time ago, Debbie was talking with a pastor and his wife who were staying in our home. They could clearly see that we were blessed, so the pastor asked my wife, "Why do you think God has blessed you so much?" Debbie thought about it a moment and answered, "I think it has to do with Robert's heart. When Robert got saved, God so changed his heart that he would give away everything we owned if he sensed God telling Him to do it. As a matter of fact, he's done it several times because he loves God and he loves people. The Lord has given him a heart that wants to give generously to God's people and God's work."
Now, I tell this story from a place of humility. To no credit of my own, this is a work God has done in me. He has changed my heart from being selfish to being liberal and generous. I'm not using the term "liberal" in the political sense. I'm talking about liberality—the practice of being generous and free with our material possessions. Take a look again at today's Scripture, which says, "You shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress."
We may not have threshing floors or winepresses nowadays, but we are still called to give liberally from what God has blessed us with. We are not to be stingy in our giving; we are to be generous. That's why we must cultivate a liberal heart. This goes against the grain of our fallen natures, but it's perfectly consistent with the new natures we received when we gave our lives to Jesus.
The key to walking in the new nature, rather than the old one, is simply a matter of renewing your mind. Romans 12:2 says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Mind renewal brings transformation. Once we've been transformed in this area, there's one more work God must do in our hearts—we must develop a grateful heart.
Let's look at Deuteronomy 15:15: "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today." Why did God instruct the Israelites to remember they had been slaves? Because it would fill their hearts with gratitude for what He had done for them. From time to time, in worship or in my quiet time, God reminds me of my past. He doesn't do it to produce guilt or condemnation. He does it to produce deep gratitude.
Many years ago, I was at a very small church speaking about giving. There was a young man there who had just recently come to know Christ. Prior to being born again, he had squandered all of his money and was essentially broke. At offering time, he said, Lord, what can I give? I have so little money, but my heart is so full of gratitude for what You have done for me. As he asked, the Lord gave him the idea of taking out a life insurance policy and making the church the beneficiary. So he arranged for a $100,000 policy. Just a few years later, he passed away, and the church received that money—a larger gift than he could possibly have given any other way. From his heart of gratitude came a huge blessing to that little church.
Just imagine what the Lord can do through us when we renew our minds to become generous, grateful givers! Today, I challenge you to ask Him to give you a grateful heart and see what opportunities He gives you to be generous.
God, thank You for saving me and reminding me of how You rescued me. Give me a grateful heart and provide me with opportunities to be generous. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
- Deuteronomy 5:29; Proverbs 16:2
Taken from The Blessed Life, a Gateway devotion.
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