Giving Generously of Your Resources

Welcome to day 13 of STAND OUT: 7 traits of a counter cultural life.  You can find an index of every post here.

Generous: (of a person) showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected; showing kindness toward others; (of a thing) larger or more plentiful than is usual or necessary.

Earlier this year, a friend handed me an envelope. She smiled and said, “I just want you to have this.” She gave me a hug and walked away. As I peeked into the envelope, I began to cry. My friend had given me $1000. Y’all, it was overwhelming. I didn’t even know how to express my gratitude to her.

In 2001, we were living in south Georgia. Scott was serving at a small church and we had only been there about six months when his dad unexpectedly passed away. We drove the nine hours home to north Alabama and spent the next six weeks trying to help his mom. I stayed in Alabama while Scott drove back and forth to Georgia to serve the church where he was on staff. About a week after the funeral, I remembered I had left a load of laundry in the washer when we had rushed out. I called a friend in Georgia to ask her if she’d please run that load again and then put it in the dryer.  She laughed and said another friend had already gone to our house and finished the laundry, cleaned out the fridge, and put clean sheets on all the beds so they’d be ready for us whenever we came home.

On April 28, 2014, I had a heart attack at church. Scott rushed me to the hospital and as we were leaving I looked at a friend and asked her to take care of Casiday. For two days I was in the hospital and friends from church kept our girl and loved on her during what was undoubtedly a very scary time for a 14-year-old.

Just as God has given generously to us, we must be generous in our giving to others.

Generosity comes in many forms.

Yesterday I wrote this:

Generosity is less about what we  give and more about what we treasure.

Sometimes, we are almost unaware what we treasure — until someone asks us to give it up. But when we look at generosity in light of Scripture, we see how vital it is to us as believers.  When we recognize how generous God is, our right response is to live with radical generosity to others.  And, because we are all different, that looks different for each of us.

As I’ve looked at my own life and tried to be a good student of those around me, I’ve noticed there are four areas where we seem to struggle most with generosity.  I don’t know anyone who has a hard time with all four but I can’t think of any person I know who doesn’t struggle with at least one of these.

Money

Earlier in this series we looked at what the world says about being wise with our money and how Scripture gives us God’s wisdom. A large part of being wise with our money is recognizing it isn’t our money. It’s God’s. And how we use it should be an accurate reflection of His priorities and character. Remember the story of the widow’s mite? Found in Luke 21, Jesus is watching the people place their offerings in the Temple. As the rich made a show of themselves, a widow gave two small coins. Her gift financially was far less than the others had given. But Jesus said this,

Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. {Luke 21:3-4}

Are you giving out of your abundance or out of your poverty? I always think of David’s words in 2 Samuel 24:24,

I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.

Financial generosity will always cost us something. If it doesn’t, it’s not really a sacrifice. As you look at how you spend your money, are you generous? Do you give at the expense of having what you want and possibly even need? The widow gave all she had to live on.  There is no escape from the biblical truth of God’s expectation that we will invest our money into kingdom purposes … His kingdom, not ours.

Time

Ouch, y’all! This one might get you. Lately I’ve heard several people say, “I’d rather just write a check then give up the time.” In our frantic and chaotic world, time is often our most precious commodity. We want to use it well. We want to invest it wisely. But it’s easy for us to get caught up in what the world says is a good use of time and miss out on the opportunities God offers us to be a part of building His kingdom.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. {Psalm 90:12}

We are called to use our time well. Not for our purposes but for His! A few years ago I heard a speaker talk about tithing our time … giving 2.4 hours of our day to God. Y’all, think about that? We barely give that much time on Sundays much less the rest of our week.  What if we got serious about using the time we have every day to make His name known. What if we gave up some of the time we like to use for ourselves and sowed into the harvest of the kingdom?

In Colossians 4:5, Paul says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” We don’t know how many days we have. We need to use every one of them to bring glory to God and share His gospel message of hope.

When we look at generosity in light of Scripture, we see how vital it is to us as believers. When we recognize how generous God is, our right response is to live with radical generosity to others. And, because we are all different, that looks different for each of us.

Home

Our home is precious to me. It’s a place of sanctuary for us. It’s where we can be our truest selves — good, bad, and all. But for all these years, our home has also been a place where people gather. We’ve had Bible studies and small groups, huge parties and small gatherings. We’ve shared meals and cried tears. We’ve watched movies and laughed until we couldn’t breathe.  For us, our home is just another one of the resources God has given us and we have always tried to be generous with it.

In Acts 16, we read of the conversion of Lydia in Philippi. Upon meeting Paul, she invited him to come and stay in her home. {Acts 16:11-15} She welcomed him and his companions into her home and served them well. Verse 15 says, “She prevailed upon us” about staying with her. Y’all, she didn’t just invite … she prevailed.  Hospitality was important to her. She was generous with her home.

In this day and age of privacy fences, God has birthed a passion in my friend Kristin for “front yard people.” A few years ago she bought a picnic table, painted it turquoise, and placed right the front yard of her home. Since then, countless others have joined her and opened up their yard and their hearts to the people in their neighborhoods. Sometimes, being generous looks like painting a table and welcoming people to sit.

People

Do you share your people? When my daughter was about five, she went through a phase where she only had one friend. And if that friend wanted to play with someone else, well, that was fine but she couldn’t be Casiday’s friend anymore. Thankfully, that phase didn’t last very long and now my girl has a whole slew of friends.

But sometimes, we can all be a little bit like a 5-year-old girl, can’t we? We want our people to be ours. We want to to hoard the relationships we have and find ourselves being resentful of the time our friends spend with others.  I tend to be a connector of people. I love introducing my friends to others who have the same passions or experiences. But even with that, there are seasons when I want my friends to be just mine.

Just as we are generous with our money, time, and homes, we also need to be generous with the people in our life.

I know this was a pretty long post. These topics are not simple to dissect. But they are important … and we need to be willing to ask ourselves the hard questions and dig into the Word to learn what God expects from His children. One thing is clear, being generous is a big deal to God. He gives to us lavishly and abundantly — and He expects us to follow His example. There is no question we are called to give generously of our resources.

xo,

Teri Lynne

How has someone been generous with their resources in your life?

2 Replies to “Giving Generously of Your Resources”

  1. Wonderfully written and excellent food for thought. I am blessed to have in-laws that I can honestly say live daily lives with all four of these generous attributes. They are simple folk from Georgia. Recently I asked their permission to write about them in one of my 31 Day posts. I could dedicate the whole month to them! What examples they are for me.

    Ms Linda Darlene

    1. What a beautiful thing to say about your in-laws! I love it! I, too, married into a wonderful family … such a special thing!! Thank you for sharing.

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