Lately I’ve been praying to God to help me understand money and generosity better. We tithe, we give, but I never want to assume that what I am doing is all that God wants for my life. I always want to be asking God if He wants something else from my talents and resources. Not in a pathetic, “I’m not good enough” kind of way, but in a “As long as I’m alive, I want to be growing” kind of way. What do I believe about generosity that is limiting me and therefore limiting God? Limiting God…that was an interesting perspective to dive into. Can I really limit God? I’ve been reflecting back on various teachings I’ve heard about generosity and trying to match it up with my own ministry experience. It’s pretty interesting!
I’ve heard countless sermons about giving and how it’s about our own hearts, not because God needs our money. I’ve even bought into the idea that God will find a way despite our personal generosity.
“He owns the cattle on a thousand hills…”
“It’s all His anyway…”
“Money doesn’t limit God! We give to unlock our own issues with greed!”
But what if it doesn’t work that way? What if our inability to obey in this one area DOES limit God? What if people don’t know Jesus, simply because the vast majority of His people don’t understand that generosity really does further ministry?
As I was praying about generosity, I got a mental picture of the cattle on a thousand hills. What if God gave them to me and I put up a fence with a padlock on them to keep them for myself? They may be God’s, but His ability to bless others with them has been limited by me. As long as I hold the key to that padlock, those cows are mine and mine alone. Now I understand that I serve a God who could tear down my fences or take back the key to the padlock, but I also see in scripture that isn’t the way it works most of the time. God loves ME so much that He gives me free will to do what I want with what I’ve been given.
Being on the backside of a church I see this all of the time. There are very few other limiting factors in ministry other than the generosity of others. If God’s people were truly generous…if I was truly as generous as I could be…the world would simply be different.
So, here’s my challenge of the day…how can we all be more generous? Where can we start or where can we grow from? One of the ways that Mark and I try to work on this area in our spiritual growth is just to give more this year than last year. Tithing 10% has always been the foundation of our marriage. We just write the check every month like clockwork, but that’s not where I want to be in the end of our story. Where I want to be is at the place where I understand the heart of God for people, not possessions. I’m not there yet, so the solution is to keep giving until I am.