Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Ultimate Giver

Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.

-- Psalm 4:5

For centuries, Christ-followers have given a portion of their resources to the church to help achieve God's will on Earth. And if you're a committed giver, you've probably discovered that you can't out-give God. We might one day feel led to help a neighbor pay his electric bill or buy a bag of groceries. And then a few days later, we might ourselves be blessed Giftthrough an unexpected promotion at work or a surprise check in the mail. God's example is a powerful incentive for Believers of all economic levels. After all, he wants us to trust in him--not money--as our provider.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding," we read in Psalms, "in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

But when it comes to our money, it really does boil down to trust. We trust God with our eternal salvation. However, do we trust this same God to provide for our daily needs? Christ-followers are called to serve as his hands and feet to feed the hungry, heal the sick and house the homeless. So by making generous giving a spiritual habit, we become more like Him--and all while helping to change the world for the better.

This principle sounds fine in theory--particularly when our bank accounts are full and there's plenty more on the way. But how does it apply to Christ-followers with only modest financial resources?

In the Gospel story known as The Widow's Mite, Jesus described a poor woman who literally gave her last penny as her offering. His point was that since she gave out of her poverty, her small gift was actually much greater in God's eyes than the vast sums offered by rich worshippers. We can see that the widow--although poor--took the initiative and made the most of her gift. Likewise for today's Christ-followers of modest means, giving takes humility. (Who wants to feel compared to others?) What's more, giving out of limited resources takes discipline and trust. Just because we have less than others is no reason to turn our backs on God. And when we're wise with the gifts he gives us, there's more to give back to him and his Kingdom.

Whether our bank accounts are big or small, our generosity brings joy to others. It moves our focus from ourselves and onto the recipient. Moreover, a life of generosity brings joy to our Creator because it shows we're becoming more like him. And why not? After all, ours is a God who is the ultimate giver.

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