Every year as we begin a new ministry season, we ask the following question of ourselves and our leaders.
“What area do you feel God desires to work on in your life this year?”
As I contemplated this, one word came to mind, GENEROSITY.
I have struggled with generosity, specifically in regards to money, for most of my life. I admit I’m stingy. I don’t like it, I want it to change but at the same time I resist admitting that this is an area in my life that I need to work on. But it’s true and God is forcing me to take a good hard look at a place in my heart that I have not wanted to admit was even there.
So when God brought that word to my mind, my prayer was something like this. . . “Again Lord? Really, I feel like I’ve been working on this generosity thing in my life for quite a while. Do you really want to have me focus on this again this year? Aren’t there other more pressing issues that You want to deal with in my life?”
“Okay alright, I surrender this ugly part of my heart to you. I want to be generous but find myself to be stingy, holding back the good things You have given to me. I want to be sensitive to your leading in my life in this area. Please open doors and make it clear to me when you are calling me to be generous with your good gifts. I love you, your daughter.”
That word, GENEROSITY kept floating through my thoughts in the weeks that followed my commitment to God and I wondered what God had in store for me. . .
One busy afternoon, I was standing in line at the grocery store and there was a woman in front of me that was trying to use her bridge card. Every time she would put in her password for the card, it would come up that it wasn’t recognizing it. She was getting more and more frustrated by the minute and finally told the cashier that she would need to set her groceries aside and call the government (that ought to be fun, I thought!). My heart went out to her – how embarrassing it all must be for her.
And then I felt that still quiet voice in my head say, “Why don’t you pay for her groceries?”
“What? Well, you know Lord if they were only just $20 I would pay for them but they are more than double that! I just can’t do that.”
“Why don’t you pay for her groceries?” that voice once again prodded.
“I don’t know what my husband would say if I did that. I don’t think I should.”
“Why don’t you pay for her groceries?” I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.
I continued to argue with God as the cashier rang up my bill, shaking inside – “Should I do this? I don’t know. Quit fighting, isn’t this what you prayed for? Alright already! I got it, I’ll do it.”
I turned to the cashier and asked, “Would it be okay if I paid for that woman’s groceries?”
The cashier was a little taken aback as she said, “You know that it’s about $50!”
Yes, I know and I’m fine with that, would it be alright?” I replied.
The transaction took just a moment of our time and she looked at me and said, “Do you want to tell her?”
I knew what the Lord wanted me to do. I said, “No, I think you should tell her.” And I walked out of the store – no actually I floated!
I couldn’t believe what I felt; this incredible joy filled my soul as I walked out in wonder and amazement that God would give me such an incredible gift!
Oh how selfish my heart has been and what joy I have missed out on in allowing stinginess to invade my soul. What’s wrong with me? Why do I wrestle with God, when He knows best? Why do I quibble over a measly 50 bucks when my Heavenly Father has given me a gift that all the words in the world cannot describe?
Jesus said, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.” John 6:38 (NLV)
How true I found this to be in my own life when I obeyed the promptings of God. That’s the miracle of generosity – when we give with a pure heart, not expecting anything in return God gives us so much more than we can even ask or imagine!