Generosity of God: Playing The Out-Giving Game
On our date night, I watched as my husband said he wanted to buy the dinner of the family of seven seated next to us. His generosity made my heart smile, but then all these questions arose in my heart.
I I had talked to him in the car on the way to the restaurant about a verse I had found amazingly profound yet simple:
“So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over.”
Luke 11:41 NLT
But this was an upscale restaurant, these people weren’t actually “poor”. And they were ordering drinks. Families that struggled financially weren’t out at upscale restaurants ordering drinks with their meal, were they?
See that’s the difference between my husband and I. I over-think, over-complicate, and over-rationalize. He hears the Holy Spirit and just does it. He leaves the thinking to God.
We have been in a season of generosity. Have you ever played the game where you try to out-give God? You should try it. It’s actually pretty comical. We give a hundred; God gives us back 1000. We give 600; Gid gives us 5000. Seriously.
That same night I decided to go to Hobby Lobby and buy materials to make my grandmother a wreath. I knew it would make her so happy every time she saw it on her door. And I could make it for fall/thanksgiving so that it could go with all the decorations she likes to put up. I had the same thought: my grandmother isn’t “the poor”. Should I be buying food for homeless or something? But love for my grandmother and joy at the thought of her joy compelled me beyond the rationalizations. I couldn’t wait to go home that night and make her the cutest thanksgiving wreath. I even used scrabble letter tiles because grandmother loves scrabble. And I went ahead and made two other loved ones in my life their own beautiful wreath.
Saturday day I began the search for a box to mail it. While looking through the dollar general boxes, I found a stack of sudoku books that the store had thrown out. I grabbed one since grandmother loves that game. No boxes that would work though. I checked every place I could think of. Hmph.
So sunday, after church I headed to fed ex, probably the only place that would have the unique box I needed. The cheapest shipping the rep told me was 1-day, and it would ship out Monday. “Oh! That’s cool!” I said. “So, she’ll get it Tuesday?”
i I couldn’t wait to call my grandmother and tell her that she would be getting a present soon. “Is it for my birthday?” She asked.
“When’s your birthday?” I asked her.
“Tuesday,” she said.
“Well, I guess so!” I laughed. “You know God is so funny …and awesome: he knows I never remember anyone’s birthday. So, he remembers for me and even helps me to send a gift on time!”
“He really is awesome,” she said, “because I was just telling your grandad how I wish people would send me gifts. I hardly ever get them anymore and I LOVE to get presents.”
God arranged it all so that I would make and send her a gift that would arrive exactly on her birthday! That got me thinking about that family of seven. You know God was where you are before you ever got there. The store, the restaurant, the situation. He was there first, pre-arranging all the circumstances. Maybe that family wasn’t poor. Maybe they were well off. But maybe God had been prompting them to give a big offering to missions and their dinner being bought was confirmation. We just never know. But we do know God will use it ALL for his purposes and for good. And you will NEVER go wrong giving. Even if you totally did not hear the Holy Spirit. God just smiles and uses it somehow, even if it’s just to stretch or grow you in giving.
Plus the out-giving game is fun. I think God has a lot of fun with it. It’s such a blessing to touch others and show them the love of God. And God wants to show that love equally to the homeless stranger and your 71-year old grandmother. You will never go wrong shining the light of His generosity to everyone in the sphere of influence that God gave you.
So, whether it’s the mom struggling with a toddler behind you that you offer to hold and maybe even pay for her groceries. Or the homeless man at the light that you usually ignore. Or sending a random gift, gift card, and card to that family member that is lonely and in a dark place right now. Or making dinner for that family that God put on your heart. Do it! Begin the giving game with God. Give him the delightful joy of out-giving you.