Three Things That Happened When I Started Living Generously
I’ve always struggled when it comes to finances--not because I’m into frivolous spending or because I charge too much, but because I’m afraid to sink. I’ve been a saver all my life, something that most people associate positively, but my saving often came from insecurity and a lack of trust. This good practice turned bad when it came as a result of fear and ruled over me for longer than I’d like to admit. It was made worse a few years ago when my income was unsteady at best. I cut my spending in every way, but it was the amount I was willing to give that took the biggest hit. Then I had a conversation with my grandma that changed everything.
My grandma directed me to a few key scriptures. The first verse was Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The second was Malachai 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
“I’ve always thought the second verse was the most interesting,” Grandma added. “We’re always taught not to test the Lord, but with this, he tells us that it’s okay. God knows us so well. He knows that we are prone to the pursuit of money, and we’re often not willing to give much once we acquire it.”
After talking to my grandma, two things happened. I realized that I’m not alone in my struggle, and I felt challenged to live more generously. I made a commitment to give, not only as much as I had been before but more, even when times were hard. And I’d look for more ways to give. Here’s what happened:
- I saw more opportunities. The first few months of increased giving took place mostly at church, or gifts to organizations. Then God opened my eyes to the needs of individuals. Giving became more fun because I could see the impact of it everywhere, and I could choose each week to give to a new person or place. As an added benefit, I began building relationships with more people who were either recipients of the gifts, or fellow givers.
- I felt free. Money didn’t have the same hold on me that it did before. I started to see that God trusted me with a certain amount of finances, and part of what he wants me to do is give. The gift of money is meant to flow from one person to the next, not to be stockpiled.
- It was contagious. When my kids saw me giving, it didn’t take long for them to join in. In the years since then, my sons have raised money to help others, and they’ve helped spot needs. They’ve also witnessed the amazing impact even a few dollars can make, and they’re excited to share.
Living generously changed a lot in my life, and the benefits continue to grow. If this is something you struggle with as well, you’re not alone. God created us. He knows that this is something that we’ll have a hard time with, and he wants us to test him, to give wholeheartedly and see him do amazing things as a result.