Are you trusting God to provide even when he calls you to uncomfortable levels of generosity?
This article is part of an ongoing blog series called Stories of Generosity.
Do you want to know something funny about quoting the Bible?
Many believers and nonbelievers are just as likely to quote the Bible without realizing they are quoting the Bible, as to think they’re quoting the Bible when they are not.
One such quote is the phrase, “It is better to give than to receive.”
Such a true and awesome quote! Of course it is. Jesus said it first.
This is a beatitude that is not found among the beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew. Instead it’s found in Acts 20:35 when the apostle Paul credits this truth back to Jesus.
Here is the full sentence:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Jesus, Acts 20:35
Have you ever experienced this in life?
Generosity Overflows Your Heart
I mentioned in my introduction post for the purpose of this site that giving is the most fun I have with money.
Let me share a short story of generosity with you.
Now, I want to always make it clear I don’t share stories like this to scratch myself on the back or toot my own horn. It’s not proper to give so others will see. If that’s the purpose then those accolades are my only reward.
I share this story to illustrate a personal experience with the overflowing and inexpressible joy I experience when giving.
There is a family in our church who God has called to lead short-term overseas mission trips each summer.
As with most mission groups, there tends to always be a person or two who struggle to come up with the money to go. After working hard at fundraising and saving their own pennies, sometimes it’s still difficult and requires additional support.
God is faithful to those he calls, so if you sense the call you should trust him to provide.
Two Questions, One Answer: Trust
One particular year my wife and I had some cash saved up in our vacation budget category when two questions came across our plate the same week.
The first question was, “Do you want to join us for vacation this summer?”
To go with the family we would need that saved vacation money and a lot more.
The second question (mostly asked of ourselves) was, “Are we able to generously help someone go on a mission trip this year?”
See, my wife and I both love short-term overseas missions. Countries like Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Costa Rica, even Native American Indian Reservations, are places we’ve participated in ministry. In recent years we haven’t been able to go on any trips. Our kids are too little and they’re our primary calling for this season.
We both know how much a community can be impacted and a servant can grow on a trip like that. So our offerings are often in those areas.
On this particular day my wife and I had spent a few hours praying and talking this through. No matter what solution we discussed it just never seemed right.
- If we give to the mission we may not be able to afford vacation.
- If we choose not to give to the mission and instead go on vacation, it seems selfish, although we believe God wants us to take care of our families and enjoy them. Vacations are good for our rest and our relationships with our family and the joy of our kids.
After hours in a stalemate, I somehow found the magic words to bridge the divide.
What if we gave the saved money to the mission, committed to the vacation, and trusted God to provide?
The look on my wife’s face told me instantly I had finally found the perfect solution.
So we committed to both and chose to trust God with our finances.
That afternoon I drove to the ATM trusting God and withdrew the cash (to remain anonymous) and delivered it in an envelope to the mission leaders.
Joy Flowed Strong
I was so excited on my way to the bank I could barely contain myself! The inexpressible joy pumping through my heart made it hard to sit still in the car.
Honestly, typing that number in and holding the cash in that envelope and handing it to the mission leader was exhilarating.
It had nothing to do with the amount of money. In fact, I’ve spent much larger sums of money in the past on my own consumption and not been that excited.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the feeling of buying something new as much as the next guy, but I’ve learned those feelings wear off.
The generosity feeling stays forever.
To know my wife and I had the opportunity to help send a missionary on the trip of a lifetime where they will serve the least of these and grow closer to Christ – that is a blessed feeling.
What about you? Have you experienced the blessing of giving and now realize it’s better than receiving and is the most fun you have with money?
A Blessed Generosity Experience is a Biblical Experience
I write for Cheerful Money to help Christians generously share God’s blessings.
It’s about helping others experience the blessing that comes from generosity.
It’s never about your money. It’s always about your heart.
The apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church in Philippi while sitting in prison. He was very good at challenging churches to be generous while also reminding them he works on the side to support himself. He was a tent-maker.
Here’s what Paul told the church in Philippians 4:15–17 (The Message):
You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.
That’s what I want for you.
As a pastor that’s what I want for the members of my church.
God will see the sacrifice you make and he will be pleased.
One Itching Question Remains
This begs the question, “What is the blessing?”
I can’t answer that question for you. I can’t answer that question for God. It’s not my job. I can tell you, though, that the blessing is going to be worth it.
The blessing could be financial returns, sure. Anytime God, who knows our hearts, sees our full trust in his ability to provide for our needs, he will trust us with more.
The generosity blessing is so much more than money!
In the story of generosity I shared above my wife and I seemed to have received many blessings.
- The very next morning God prompted someone to hand us a little cash. It wasn’t the full amount we had given, but it was a significant gift that brought me to tears and a smile and a praise.
- We were able to go on vacation too. It wasn’t even a financial burden. God created margin.
- My inexpressible heart full of joy remains full to this day. I love knowing I got to help with the work of the Kingdom of God.
Again, I share all this because I love you and desire good things for your life, not for personal accolades. All glory to God.
Next time you hear someone say, “It is better to give than to receive,” you can think to yourself, “Yes, that’s a more blessed way to live. Thank you, Jesus.”
If this story has helped you in anyway, please share it with a friend.