Are You Generous or Obligated?
What do you hear first when you think of money? The cash register from Pink Floyd’s Money or “Money, money, money….” from the OJ’s For the Love of Money. I have the latter running through my head as I write this.
I’ll admit it. I live out of obligation. Obligation isn’t all bad. Sometimes that is the only way things get done. Scripture tells us be generous with our time, talents and money. I do ok with the first two. When it comes to money, I have a poverty mindset. That means I always think I don’t have enough. If I don’t have enough for me, I don’t have enough to share either. That leaves me only giving in areas I feel obligated to give. Is this starting to rub an edge within you? Are you obligated? For me, it’s my pocket-book I don’t want touched. My mom did an excellent job of teaching me to be frugal with money. I may have taken the lesson a little farther than intended. It is no surprise then that God has been putting some pressure on me to trust Him with His money. Yep, that’s right. It’s His money. All things on earth are His.
At a recent Best Life Ministries conference a woman was looking at a bracelet that said, “Be still and know that I am God.” She told me that God had told her just that and that she would be clean as snow. Tears started to well up in my eyes. I know what it means to be dirty and cleaned by God. (The book will be out in June :0) I told her, “It’s true. You will be clean and I’m proof it can happen.” Then she was tearing up and went back into the session. God didn’t wait a moment to start nudging me to buy the bracelet for her. Ugh. I instantly began to argue with Him and list off my reasons for not buying the bracelet; The end of the month is approaching, there is not enough, what if I offend her, what if she’s scamming me… All of the “reasons” were excuses and lies I was willing to tell myself just because I was afraid. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough. I was afraid I would get in trouble. (From who? I don’t know. My hubby certainly wasn’t going to care.) I can look back know and see how ridiculous I was being.
I finally gave in, wrote the check and handed it to her the next time I saw her. The look on her face was priceless. Tears welled up. She couldn’t believe it and thanked me repeatedly. I told her God wanted her to have it. I didn’t tell her God had to pry the money out of my hands. She walked away and I looked at a fellow speaker and said,”That’s why God is trying to teach me generosity.” Every time I saw her throughout the day she’d say, “I can’t believe it.”
2 Corinthians 9:7-11 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”[c] 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”[d]
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity[e] in you.11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.
It was all about God wanting to bless her and I had the privilege of being apart of the blessing. How many blessings have I missed out on because of my death grip on money? I have been more concerned about what I need and want rather than letting God use me to bless others. I have to tell you being apart of that blessing was way more fun than buying a new pair of shoes. I love shoes.
Learning to have an attitude of joyful generosity is a road I’ll be on for a while. How about you? Is God nudging you to be more generous your time, talents or money? Share your story.