Again and again Jesus tells us to give—to give to everyone (Luke 6:30); to give hoping for nothing in return (verse 35); to give in the generous way God, who is kind to the unthankful and evil, gives (verse 35); and to care for others by giving (verse 38). You and I can learn to give in this way, to overflow with care for all others.
My husband, Jim, is this wonderfully generous soul who gives everything away. He’s given away our cars, our groceries, our money, our savings, his suits, and our home to be used by others when we are away. I’m learning to be more generous, and one important lesson came when a couple from our home church showed me what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such generosity. While we were missionaries in Singapore, they came for a visit. As we shopped the streets and harbor of that world-port city, Billie bought two of everything—and then gave the second of each (batik clothes, Christmas ornaments, china) to me when she left! What a joy to me—and what a privilege that you and I can give that kind of joy to others by giving generously. Here are a few ideas.
Determine to withhold nothing—Proverbs 3:27 exhorts us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” What are some of the good things “in the power of your hand”? Praise, encouragement, thanks, a greeting, kindness, good deeds, and a note of appreciation are a few of the good things we hold. And you and I choose whether or not we will share these blessings.
Become a generous soul—Don’t just give, but give liberally, cheerfully, bountifully, hilariously, extra, above and beyond (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)! “The generous soul will be made rich,” Proverbs 11:25 informs us. Becoming that “generous soul” can be a process, as I can attest.
Give of yourself —Your presence and sometimes a single touch are worth a thousand words—When it comes to reaching out, remember this principle of ministry: Your very presence is a source of comfort. You may not have the exact words to say or the perfect Scripture to share. But in many if not most situations, your touch can bring comfort far greater than words. We can give the smile, the greeting, the warm question, the touch, the hug, and the name (always use the person’s name!).
It’s been by God’s blessing, but over the decades I’ve grown in this grace of giving. I remember growing to the point of conviction over my lack of generosity that I made “Giving” a category on my daily prayer list. In other words, I embraced this Christ-like character quality and trait God calls us to. I began to regularly ask God, “Who can I give to today? Who, Lord, is in need? How can I bless others with what You have blessed me with?” Yes, financial giving was part of what I was acting on. But I’m not just referring to money. No, our giving reaches into every part of our soul and our possessions. You and I have groceries in the pantry, clothes or baby items someone else could use, books that can encourage and edify others. We just need hearts that are open and generous.
Now, can you imagine how shocked I was when Jim and I were interviewed together on a Valentine’s Day radio program where Jim was asked what he admired most about me… and he replied, “Elizabeth’s generous heart. She is a very giving person.” By God’s grace and transforming power, He had worked that miracle in my heart… and He can do the same in yours.
Question: Who can you give to today? Ask the Lord to show you who is in need?
For more encouragement read, A Woman After God’s Own Heart.