Generosity

August 13, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

 

          One of the lessons I had hammered into me while attending Oral Roberts University (ORU) was that of Seed Faith.  Oral would speak to it at nearly every chapel.  He encouraged us all to practice the principle in our lives.

          What is Seed Faith?  You may be asking.  Basically, it’s the principle of giving (planting) and then believing that God will multiply that gift.   Usually, the gift was money, of course.  Looking back, I see it as his way to motivate donors to give, even if they had very little, by building the expectation of a hundred-fold return.

          Unfortunately, some of the scholars, and students, really didn’t care for the teaching too much because it was bordering on something they saw as a ‘give to get’ teaching.  Who wouldn’t give ten dollars to get one hundred dollars back from God?  Seems like a no-brainer.  But, not everyone receives a hundred-fold back.  If they did, it would be the best investment in the history of mankind.

          Is that to say there is no value in the biblical promise of God multiplying our giving?  Of course not.  But, we may not receive back monetarily and, what we give, isn’t exclusively about money.  Where the teaching falls off the rails is when it’s used to get more donations instead of teaching the biblical truth of generosity.  The truth that, by living a life of being a cheerful giver, you will live a blessed life in all areas.

          Generosity is a simple truth.  One that doesn’t need a lot of explaining or hours of teaching.  It’s something that, in reality, comes from the heart.   The opposite, greed, comes from the same place.  In my experience, it’s taught by example more than by a book or sermon.  It’s putting others above our own needs or desires. 

          During some of the early days growing up, we didn’t have very much money.  Mom worked as a clerk downtown at the local general store and we had some child support.  It usually wasn’t enough, and, for a time, we had to rely on both family and public assistance.

          I’ll never forget wearing the jeans with knee patches that pealed off in class or the government issued plastic glasses.  Often, haircuts were more of a luxury so, suffice to say, I was a real looker…!

          I still remember the night my mother looked in the refrigerator, which was empty, and just cried because we had no food.  Then, we heard someone at the door.  It was a friend who felt the need to get us some groceries and dropped them off at just the right time.

          On another occasion, I remember my mother opening an unmarked letter in the mail.  It was filled with enough money to help get us clothes for school.  Someone had felt the need to help us out and didn’t want to be known.

          That, to me, was true giving.  It was seeing a need and doing something about it not expecting anything in return.  Not even a thank you.  The Bible talks about not making a show of our generosity and ‘not letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing’ when we give because it is an act of worship. 

          God looks at our hearts and asks us to be like Him.  He gave everything to us and for us.  His only ask of us, that we give that back to Him.  How do we do that?  By giving to others.  It could be through a church, an organization that helps others, or just someone we meet at the store.

          For me, generosity is something I find easier than in the past, but still struggle with at times.  Not that I’m wanting to spend our money or time on myself, but that I’m afraid to spend or give it.  It’s something that ties back to my earlier years, I’m sure.  It’s also something I need to continue to grow in by being able to let go and trust that God will care for us whether rich or poor.  After all, he has all my life. 

          While writing the blog today, I’m motivated to let go and give more just by writing about it.  I’m reminded that, giving isn’t to get.  Giving is to bless others.  I’m also reminded of a principle from the Bible that has stuck with me since my youth minister in high school taught us.  That is that we’re, ‘Blessed to be a blessing’.   It speaks for itself and is a good rule to live by every day and one I hope inspires you too.  I guess that will be my ‘Seed Faith’ planted today…

 

Love always friends,

 

Brad

         

 


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