God, Giving and You: Growing a Generous Heart

Have you ever written a check for $40,000?

Years ago, I had some missionary friends who were looking to buy a home in the country where they served. Homes were much cheaper in that part of the world than they are here, and this couple found a property that they thought would be really useful… for $40,000. They didn’t have the cash to buy it, but one of their American supporters did. So he wrote them a $40,000 check.

I saw the check with my own eyes, and — at the time — the amount of money that it represented astounded me. I was amazed that anyone had that kind of money to spare… and that they would choose to use it to buy a house for someone else. I was also inspired, and decided that I wanted to be able to write checks like that someday too.

The  supporter who wrote that check was walking out the third step in God’s Master Plan for our money: Generous giving. God gives us everything we have, and He has specific things that He wants us to do with the resources that He has entrusted to us. We’ve already discussed the importance of the first two steps, working to support our families and tithing to support the church. But it’s in this third step where things really start to get fun.

If you’ve managed your money well, you’ll probably have some funds left over each month after you’ve tithed and taken care of your household expenses. It can feel great to have an overflow like this, and you can probably think of a list of five things that you’d like to do with that extra money. But the first thing that God wants you to do out of that abundance is to give — give to ministries, give to people in need, give whenever we have a chance to be a blessing. II Corinthians 9:6-12 paints a great picture of this:

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 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. 9 As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

There’s a lot that we can learn from this passage, and we’ll dive into the details in coming articles. For now though, understand this — God wants us to give, and it’s our privilege to do so. Because when we give generously, we’re not only meeting the needs of people, but we’re also creating an overflow of expressions of thanks to God.

In our broken, hurting world, there is so much work to be done to feed people, heal people and share the Gospel. Thousands of great organizations around the world take on this mission every day, but they need our help. When we give to support these people, we come alongside them in the great work of the Kingdom, and become partners with them — and with God — in His work on earth.

The generous givers who wrote the $40,000 check made an impact on the Kingdom. And even though I can’t write a check with that many zeros yet, I’m excited to give what I can to the ministries that are close to my heart. I believe that if I’m faithful to give what I can now, God will increase my ability to give later. He is growing inside me a generous heart.

Photo via Flickr, by user Mr. Kris. Used under Creative Commons License.