Seven Lessons for Generous Living
I’m not proud to admit it but for many years, I struggled to give generously. I gave regularly to my church, but I knew that I should be giving more. I justified my decision in many ways:
- “Some people give their money. I give my time.”
- “I don’t have much to give so it doesn’t really matter that much.”
- “It’s better to give a little than nothing at all.”
One day, I read a passage that hit me hard and caused a dramatic change in my understanding of generosity.
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 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 there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your field will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:6-12, NIV)
Here are a few lessons I learned from this passage:
God gives first. He protects and provides for His children. The Israelites would have been destroyed had it not been for God’s protection.
God does not change. God’s promise is the same today as it was to the Israelites: “You can trust Me to provide.”
God takes notice when we rob Him and there are consequences for our disobedience. Robbery is a strong word. It stung to read this passage and realize I made the same mistake as the Israelites.
God’s invitation is to follow Him—even when we have messed up. “Return to me and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
Obedience is the essence of following God. Even when our way seems better, God asks us to trust Him and follow His ways.
God is not afraid for us to test Him. The decision to give up control and trust God with my finances was not easy. Old habits die hard. But now that I have taken this simple step, I see how my dependence has moved from myself to God. After experiencing life this way, I can’t imagine returning to my old way of life.
We cannot out-give God. His promises are true and He gives us far beyond what He requires from us. Our giving is a response to His goodness and a tangible reminder of the trust we place in Him.
Is there a specific area of your life that God is calling you to be obedient? What step can you take to follow Him today?
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