Why Should You Be Generous When You're Stretched Thin?
“Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home . . . If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? . . . You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (Luke 16:9, 11, 13 NLT).
It’s easy to give your time, energy, or money when you have a lot to spare. But the true test of generosity comes when you don’t have a surplus. Do you still give what little you have to help somebody else? If you do, congratulations! You’ve passed God’s test of generosity.
Why does God test your generosity? Because you were made in his image, so if you’re going to become like Jesus, you need to learn how to be generous. If you don’t, you’ll never grow to maturity, and you will never have the blessing of God on your life.
What if you’re in a recession and things aren’t going well? You’re out of work or you’re out of money, and you feel like you have no more time or energy to give. How can you be generous when you’re stretched thin?
A good example for us is found in Paul’s statement about the churches in Macedonia: “Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others” (2 Corinthians 8:2 TLB). Joy and generosity always go together.
An acid test of how much you trust God is the way you handle your money, because it shows what’s important to you.
Here are four things to remember to help you have joy, no matter how much or how little you have.
Obeying God’s vision will bring God’s provision. When you say, “God, I’m going to do what you want me to do, regardless of whether I have the money or resources to do it,” God will provide everything you need to get it done.
When I do all God tells me to do, he does what I can’t do. Give God whatever you have, however meager it may be, and God will multiply it to do more than you imagined, just like he did through the boy who brought five loaves and two fish to Jesus—thousands of people were miraculously fed.
Whenever I have a need, I need to sow a seed. Whatever you need more of, give it away. In order to harvest a crop, you first have to plant the seeds.
There is always a delay between sowing and reaping. A harvest is not automatic. It takes time and patience.
As you are generous, you can always trust that God will take care of every need you have. And, as you give to others, you are helping them see that God wants to provide for them, too.
Talk It Over
What do you need? How will you sow a seed in that area today so that you can reap God’s blessing?
Think of a season in your life when God took time to show you the harvest of your investment. What did you learn or how did you grow while you waited?
Why should Christians want to be known for their generosity?
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.