Category Archives: Giving

Two Tuesday Testimonies About God Providing Financially

Today, I have two testimonies about God providing. The first one comes from someone I have been doing some budget counseling with, and they are wonderful sweet people. I’m so very proud of their hard work and commitment. The husband just told me about the blessing they recently received. This is what I recall from our conversation:

We are working through our budget, trying to follow it well. We are tracking spending on, but we made a few unplanned purchases perhaps we shouldn’t have, but we were not discouraged but more committed to getting it right.  I prayed to God; “Lord you know my heart, and am asking you for help with our expenses, let us find some money.” Later that day, we were in the car going somewhere, we came to an intersection and stopped. I looked over, and there on the pavement I saw Benjamin Franklin’s picture. I was in the passenger seat and jumped out of the car, to pick up the blessing of a $100 bill. No one was around to claim it, and knew in my heart this was God’s blessing. We were able to fill up our car with gas and replenish our kitchen with food. – Anonymous

The second testimony was emailed to me a while back, from a friend.

“To pay for seminary, I needed to make some financial decisions.  One was to keep my old car…15 years old…believing that God would provide a way to get a newer one in the future.  After seminary, I still needed to make financial sacrifices to pursue the goals that God had for me.  So the car got older…18 years old ….  but it got me where I needed to go.  I was grateful.  In September 2012, I felt like God wanted me to start praying for someone to give me a car.    I thought I would win a contest or something.  Nothing happened that I could see.  So I put the prayers “on the shelf” and continued to be grateful that I only had to drive 8 miles a day.   In March, of 2013 my 19-year-old car had the brakes go out and would require $1000 brake job.  I asked God what to do since I did not have the money.  My next door neighbor came forward and told me that God had told her to give me her car (a 6-year-old car in perfect condition).  I offered to pay what I could, but she said that God had told her to give it to me for free.  I gave my older car to the mechanic who had always taken care of me.  He was overwhelmed, knowing that he could fix it for the cost of parts and give it to his son who was in a bad place.  My neighbor’s act of generosity gave me so much courage that God would always be there for me.  Whenever I see my mechanic, he is still amazed at God’s provision to him and his son. God is always amazing in his generosity.” – Anonymous

God provides and is generous. Pray to him, with a grateful heart, bring him your needs and wants and don’t give up.

Testimony About Giving, Faith and Worship

Putting money is the offering plate can be a difficult thing for many people to do. It isn’t easy to part with money, when we have so many needs and wants in life. Giving regularly often begins with letting go and trusting. Even if our hearts aren’t totally into it, God then often blesses us, and encourages our faith. Ultimately, giving should be about worship (read the excerpt at the bottom), but God meets us where we are. I think this short transparent testimony that was emailed to me demonstrates this quite well.

“The first time I paid tithe, I tossed a small check of $25 in the offering plate. My face immediately turned beet red. I was a FOOL! I watched my check get further away as it slowly flowed away. As the offering plate was passing in the next row BEHIND me I nearly fainted. I wanted MY money back. What was I thinking…giving good money away. I cringed but refrained from dipping my hand into the plate and removing my check. As a new Christian I heard of “being blessed” when tithing but I was a skeptic. That week a three figure check showed up in the mail. It was an unexpected “refund” from Uncle Sam. I knew it was a mistake so I mailed it back. Not long after…it was again returned with a letter telling me it was mine. I sent it back. Again it returned, I CASHED IT! I chalked it up as being “blessed by the IRS”. Decades later I have been financially blessed many times over because of my faithfulness to paying tithe even when I felt that I couldn’t “afford” to.” – anonymous

From the NIV Stewardship Study Bible:

“Many people seem to think that the reason we have an offering during the Sunday morning service is because the church needs to pay its bills and also wants to do good things with the money that is collected. Your church does need to pay its bills, and it probably does do good things with the money you put in the offering plate … but that is not why we have an offering during the Sunday morning service.

The offering is an act of worship, an instance in which we are invited to give up something that we value—our money—as a sacrifice to God. In many ways, it is the high point of the liturgy. We come to church to worship God and at no other point in the service are we provided with so pure an opportunity for worship as this …

We are invited to put money in the offering plate on Sunday morning not because the church needs our money but because we want and need to give it. We have a spiritual need to worship God, and through our offerings we are able to express our love and devotion for God in a way that is simple and sincere. The motivation of the giver is what counts most, not the size of the gift or the degree of benefit to the recipient (see Mk 12:42–44). The good news of stewardship is that church offerings are not fund-raising rituals but acts of worship in which we are invited to express our heartfelt devotion to the God who is so good to us.” -Powell, Mark A. NIV Stewardship Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. Print, page 1614.

Testi-money About God’s Generosity

A good friend of mine, sent me an email recently about giving, that I thought might be encouraging.  He has lived good stewardship, and gotten back on his feet financially, after deeply digging out from a failed business venture.

“I was looking at our tithe last year and it was indeed 10% but given our income amounts it was some crazy number that ended in 39 cents (or similar) and I thought that perhaps God was due at least a “rounding up”. After thinking about it – I rounded it up even more (because God deserved more than THAT). But wouldn’t you know that I got a raise a month later and when I recalculated my tithe base on the additional income it worked out EXACTLY to what I had previously rounded up our tithe to. You can’t out give God.”

In summary. This is true, you can’t out-give God. Sometimes he blesses us monetarily, but often in much better ways too. God is generous and loves to bless his kids. Tithing is often a test with our money (hence the title testi-money) and our trusting him. A good scripture reference is Malachi 3:10.

Being Interruptible to Bless Others

A friend recently emailed to me this story about how God used him to bless someone.

One Sunday afternoon when I was 22 years old, I sat down with my girlfriend at a nice airport restaurant while waiting on a flight. Travel activity was low that day, so the restaurant was all but empty. Our server was a man who looked to be about 45 years old. He was cheerful and considerate, but also quiet, almost to the point that I wondered if his smile might actually be hiding a deep sense of sadness. As we finished eating, I felt a sudden tugging in my heart to do something that I had never done before. When he brought us our check which amounted to about $30, my heart started racing. My hands trembled and my as I wrote “$90.00” in the tip line. For some reason, I was nervous. We waited until the waiter was out of sight and then quickly slipped away from our table. We practically ran away from that restaurant, laughing as we imagined the surprise that would soon appear on our waiter’s face. We wondered aloud about what God had in mind. What if the waiter had prayed earlier that day, asking God to provide exactly that amount of money? Not only was this experience a total rush, but it brought us much closer as a couple and had a major impact from that moment forward on my attitude toward giving. It was the best $90 I’ve ever spent.

In summary, I think it is important to be interruptible. Meaning that you conduct your life in such a way that you are aware when God is trying to get your attention to say something to you, maybe it is to encourage, warn you, or to use you to bless others that you come into contact with.  This is an excellent example of what can happen you if you are open to it.

Being Aware of Opportunities to be Generous

Here is an excellent story about a man who gave his last two dollars to bless someone else. He learned several lessons, and you will to.

As a middle school teacher my voice is usually my craft, without it I am already defeated in a classroom. One Friday I was beginning to lose my voice and my throat was becoming scratchy. I left school that day craving one thing, cough drops. I knew it would relieve the pain but I only had $2 cash left for the week according to my Dave Ramsey budget which I was sticking to. I pulled into CVS parking lot and made a b-line toward the door. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a guy approaching me. “Oh no” I thought in my head. I got to the entrance of the store when I heard a loud voice from behind “Hey buddy…” I could literally see the cough drops sitting on the shelf in the store. I turned around “yeah man whats up?” Praying in my head he doesn’t ask for money. “Do you have $2 you could spare so I could catch a bus uptown, I forgot my wallet.” Part of me wanted to bolt through the door and pretend like I didn’t hear anything but I said sure. I opened up my wallet and handed him my last two dollars. I still continued to go into CVS hoping God would bless me with some FREE cough drops but that wasn’t the case. They were $1.80 and I just gave away my last two dollars.

I left feeling upset and agitated even though it was only two measly dollars but I knew God wanted me to give that money away. The next Monday I came into the school forgetting about my miserable throat and the $2 cough drops I never purchased. My day was normal just like any other until I had a little 2nd grader come up to me and pulled on my shirt from behind. I said “how are you darling” she responded “I saw you give that man money the other day.” I was taken back, what do you mean? “He needed help and you helped him. That was nice of you.” Again later in the day one of her other siblings came up to me, a fifth grade. “Mr. Jones (named changed) I saw you give that man money, that was generous of you. I want to help people like you do one day.” My first reaction was to ask how they saw me but before I said anything she spoke up “My little sister, brother and I were waiting in the car in the parking lot and saw the whole thing.” God knew that would be a teachable moment and I had no idea the impact it would have the kids around me. Not only did it remind me that people are always watching but that God is always watching and developing our character. He also reminded me to never have a grip on money so tight that I miss what He is doing and the opportunities He gives us to steward his money.

This story exemplifies well, that we should be aware of our surroundings wherever we go, looking for ways to be good stewards, show generosity and love to those around us, and to be open to ‘Jesus Moments,’ Matthew 25: 35 – 40.

Should Christians be Great Tippers?

Have you seen the story of the $0 tip note left by pastor Alios Bell and a rude comment to the waitress, a few days ago in the news? If you have ever worked in a restaurant, as a server, bar tender or host, you prefer to not work Sundays. Christians have a reputation of being terrible tippers. This isn’t true for all Christians of course, but it is bad behavior, and it seems we need to break this habit.

Why should Christians be great tippers?  First of all, the person serving you, is working hard to attend to all of your dining needs, so you should show your appreciation to them.  Often restaurant workers are single parents, students paying their way through college, and just regular every-day people trying to make a living for themselves and their families. Christians should be generous.

Tipping is fairly inexpensive.  Adding 15% to 20% isn’t a huge part of most eating-out meals. Secondly, the difference between 15% and 20% is usually only a few dollars. I always tip 20% and round it up to the next dollar, if the service is decent or great. If it is not great I leave 15%. I have only had terrible service a few times, so I don’t worry about tipping below 15%. Also, calculating 20% is just easier mathematically.

How to easily tip 20%: Just multiply the cost of your meal by 2 and move the decimal point over.  For example if your check comes to $42, then multiply that by 2, and you get $84.00.  Move the decimal point over one place and the tip is $8.40. If you don’t have 40 cents, and you leave $8 bucks you are still over 15%, and if you round up to $9 you are out less than a buck and you tipped over 20%- what a nice thing to do for someone working hard.

Good tipping is a great witness: Not only should Christians treat waiters with extreme respect, they should go out out of their way to show appreciation. Nothing makes a worse witness, then for Christians to pray over their meals, then commence to treat the wait staff rude, and then leave a small tip, but they do it all of the time.

Practice generosity: How generous of a person are you, does your insides tighten up when you are struggling over leaving $8 or $9, then get used to being happy to bless others. God has been generous to us, and he wants us to demonstrate the same attitude.

Why am I talking about this, you might be wondering?  As I mentioned in the first paragraph, last week a church Pastor wrote on her Applebee’s receipt “I give God 10%, why do you get 18.” Millions of people all around the world have read vicious blogs and news articles, as this went viral on the web. The picture of the check was posted by the waitress and she got fired, further making the error by the pastor magnified. None of this cast a nice light on Christianity. Next time you go out to eat show genuine concern for your waiter or waitress, and tip them well. If they do an outstanding job, tell the manager on your way out.

Budgeting For Extra Charitable Donations

Here is a cool idea: consider adding a new category to your monthly budget for ‘special giving.’ While doing some budget planning with the program we use–YNAB, or You Need a Budget–I noticed that for some months throughout the year we gave to various causes. This was in addition to our regular giving.

This got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be really good if for every month we made a special donation to groups or people that we saw in need. Doing our regular 10% tithe each week, month and year sometimes seems mundane, from the standpoint that it is just a regular habit. Don’t get me wrong, I actually get excited to do it, because I feel it is an honor and privilege to be able to give, and I know it will go towards the kingdom and bless many people. But on the other hand, I don’t always get to see who it blesses, or to have a more direct effect on a single person or a special cause I like.

I asked my wife if she wanted to carve out an extra amount each month for special giving, either to organizations, or people that we want to help. She said yes–she was all for it. We are starting out with a pretty small amount that we can afford. We have only been doing this for a couple of months. It has helped with my electronic budgeting too, because now we have a place already in our program to track it. I’m kind of a nerd, and I like the numbers to match up. This helped us give to a group feeding the poor last month, and to make a special offering to help families that can’t afford Christmas for their children this month.

The YNAB software program is really easy-to-use, and I can add extra categories, or subcategories to accommodate this change to our budget. YNAB can be used on PC, Apple, iPhone or Android devices.

I’m not mentioning this to bring attention to myself, because I think that is a really bad thing to do, but to give you an idea to try. Giving this way is fun and freeing. It frees me from some money worries–strange how generosity does that. Givers usually are blessed more in return in the long run than they ever give, but that shouldn’t be the motivation; it is a cool thing that seems to happen.

Do you think this is a good idea? Also, if you already do something like this, or if you try it, let me know how it goes.

A Little Girl’s Gift

This email, “A Little Girl’s Gift*,” from Joni Eareckson Tada (quadriplegic was forwarded to me yesterday, and I thought it was wonderful.

A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great. Proverbs 18:16

When I wheeled up to the cashier’s counter in the airport gift shop, I asked the clerk to reach into my handbag behind my chair, open up my wallet, and take out the correct currency and change. “Sure,” the clerk replied. And so, while standing next to me and holding my wallet, she began to count out the bills and coins, laying them on the counter one-by-one. Suddenly a little girl darted up and-clink!-dropped a penny into my change purse. Then she ran back to her daddy. “What was all that about?” the clerk said with surprise.

Then I put two and two together. The child, who must have been watching me the whole time from behind her daddy’s legs, saw the clerk rummaging through my wallet. She must have thought I was poor and didn’t have enough money. Should I go over and tell that little girl the truth? Should I say, ‘No honey, I don’t need your pennies. I am a self-sufficient person’?

I wheeled over to the child, smiled, and said, “I want to thank you very much for helping me. You have the wonderful quality of Christ like compassion, and if you don’t know what that means, ask your daddy.” Her father gave me a wink. As I left the store, I realized it wasn’t only the right response, it was the only response. God must have been looking down and smiling. A child’s generous spirit was reinforced, her compassion encouraged, a father was made proud, a proud person was made humble, and God received the glory. A little penny opened the way for a young girl to be ushered into the presence of God, the giver of all gifts.

Today, reinforce the gift of compassion and generosity in the life of someone who has been kind to you – no matter how small that gesture of kindness.

Father, I humble myself in your presence. Show me how to humbly receive, and to encourage hearts with my gratitude.

*From her Pearls of Great Price –a devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada

Dave Ramsey and Tithe

A recent Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class attendee asked me if Dave recommends suspending tithing. Here is my response.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class is concluded with the final lesson “The Great Misunderstanding.” In this lesson he highlights the importance of giving and faith. However, it seems as if some people interpret Dave  as advocating delaying giving. In fact he even teaches the following 7 Baby Steps:

  1. Save $1,000 emergency fund
  2. Eliminate non-mortgage debt
  3. Save 3 – 6 months income for emergencies
  4. Invest 15%  income
  5. Fund college
  6. Pay off home early
  7. Build wealth & give

It is not surprising that some people think they need to get out of debt and save a lot of money before giving or tithing; in fact some churches that host the class experience a reduction in giving by people that attend. In actuality though, Dave doesn’t teach this. He advocates giving and saving as part of one’s budget from the beginning and not waiting until after accomplishing a particular baby step. The previous version of the course doesn’t perhaps convey this message loud enough, but the newest release of the material for Fall 2012 classes does a better job of making sure that people who take the course understand that they are not to stop giving.

Most churches teach tithing as a principle, not so much as law, but as an act of faith and worship. I posted an article about it at this blog site recently. Whether people choose to tithe is a matter of their own interpretation of scripture, conscience and faith. If people believe in tithing the full 10%, but they are going through financial difficulty, they may wonder if it makes sense for them to do so in light of what they are learning. I feel this depends upon various factors such as the severity of debt, their faith, counsel from wise counselors and prayer. However at the end of the day, I think it is a great idea to always give something, and a regular amount. Doing so helps us walk in faith through difficulty and it is always good to be a blessing to others. It helps us turn the focus away from our own temporary bad predicament, amongst other things. The cool part about Dave’s emphasis on giving while we are doing well and accumulating wealth is that we are in a position to give well above the traditional tithe amount.

Monday Launch, Put God to the Test

A lot of Christians think that we should never put God to the test thinking of the following Bible verses:

  • “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Deuteronomy 6:16: 
  • “Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down.’ For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:5-7: 

Is this really true, should we ever test God? When “we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)”, don’t we constantly test the reliability of God’s promises when we follow Him? The defining difference is when we jump off a bridge and quote Psalm 91:10 “then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent,” on the way down and expect God to magically put his hand out to catch us.

However when it comes to money we can put God to the test.

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 will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe, ” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:10-11

There are some common questions when it comes to tithing:

  • Is tithing just some Old Testament thing that we don’t have to worry about any more, as many preach today, since we are not under the law?  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23. Jesus had the opportunity to speak directly against the tithe, but in fact he says that we should tithe in addition to be fair.
  • Does this also give us an out, that if we have bad financial management and just tithe, we will do well financially? No that would definitely be putting God to the test, outside what the verse mentions.
  • Does this mean that if I tithe I will never have financial difficulty? Of course that is not true, many faithful tithing Christians have lost jobs, and faced health care crisis and other circumstances that have put them in difficult financial times. However if we use Biblical wisdom to live for God and not money, limit borrowing, be generous, live well below our means, work hard and honestly, and tithe, we will do well financially and when bad times come, and they will, we will endure them much more easily.

Monday AM Launch: Giving

For this morning’s devotional, I am using an excerpt from The NIV Stewardship Study Bible:

“God created both soul and body, and the resurrection of Jesus shows that he is going to redeem both the spiritual and the material. Therefore God is concerned not only for the salvation of souls but also for the relief of poverty, hunger and injustice. The gospel opens our eyes to the fact that all our wealth (even wealth for which we worked hard) is an unmerited gift from God. Therefore the person who does not generously give away his or her wealth to others is not merely lacking in compassion, but is unjust. Christ wins our salvation through losing, achieves power through weakness and service and comes to wealth through giving it all away. Those who achieve his salvation are not the strong and accomplished but those who admit they are weak and lost. We cannot look at the poor and the oppressed and callously call them to pull themselves out of their own difficulty. Jesus did not treat us that way.The gospel replaces superiority toward the poor with mercy and compassion… Indifference to the poor and disadvantaged means there has not been a true grasp of our salvation and grace.” (NIV Stewardship Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. p 635.) 

I think that this describes the heart of giving so well, giving emulates Christs model of behavior, giving redirects the focus of wealth from our selfishness, giving extends love and salvation to the poor and disadvantaged, and last but not least giving is in response to the grace we have been given, hope we have in and love for Christ.

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27

Giving Up- The Road Less Traveled

Have you ever had something that you really wanted and were getting ready to purchase, and instead of doing so you gave the money to some needy person? Have you ever considered taking a prized possession and selling it, and give the money to an institution that you believe in?

A friend of mine down sized their home, so that they could give to an orphanage. If you want to read more about this story go to this link at The Columbus Dispatch.

To do something generous like this is really good for helping others, and the giver benefits in secret indescribable ways; they experience true joy and contentment.  Things we buy may provide some personal comfort and fun but by taking the road less traveled and giving up things we experience more than the normal life can provide. Food for thought.

Poor giving to the poor?

Great story in the Columbus Dispatch about poor people giving to the poor. People in a inner-city ministry, many of who are homeless heard about an extremely poor leper colony in Africa, gave abundantly out of what little they had. Sometimes it seems we can be inclined to not to give abundantly until our own needs and wants are taken care of. This story is very motivating.

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 2 Corinthians 8:1-4

for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had o live on Mark 12:44

Monday AM Liftoff: Jesus and the Samaritans, a model of giving and generosity

Luke chapters 9 and 10 appear to be busy times for Christ; Jesus sends out the twelve and the 72, He feeds 5,000, is transfigured, and is doing other preaching and healing. Although these events may not have happened in as close proximity of time as they appear, I think the stories flow from one another for a purpose.

During the New Testament period there was considerable tensions between Jews and Samaritans, and they had no contact with one another. They would avoid being in each other’s territory and speaking with each other. Sometimes the confrontations were violent. Jesus particularly hates disharmony among all of his kids.  One of God’s ultimate goals is for all people to come together: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands (Revelation 7:9). Considering all of this it is curios to notice that so many Bible verses relate to the Samaritans.

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.  (Luke 9:51-56)

Here we see three things: the division exhibited by the Samaritans rejection, James and John wanting to destroy them, and Jesus rebuking them for their animosity. Next we see grace extended to the Samaritans.

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  Luke 10:25-37

Jesus wasn’t asking his followers to just be tolerant of a group of people they found bad, but is encouraging them to help them, even to the point of inconvenience and money.

Why does God want Christians to be generous givers, especially those who we don’t get along with? There are many reasons, including it reflects Him, we experience joy, we work with Him in doing good works, it leads others to consider Him, it brings unity among all of His kids.  Futhermore, it helps to detach us from being so focused on materialism.

Lord help me to be more generous this week, to my co-workers, family and friends, and especially to those I don’t normally want to be generous to.

C.S. Lewis Quotes on Giving

Wonderful quotes about giving from C.S. Lewis, the best Christian apologist of the 20th Century. I found these very challenging.

Charity–Giving to the poor–is an essential part of Christian morality…I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them. Mere Christianity, bk. III, chap. 3, para. 7, pp. 81-82

The limit of giving is to be the limit of our ability to give. English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, Introduction, para. 53, p. 35

Is God Generous?

An interesting question to contemplate, I think. Humans often look at what we don’t have. We see the gap, the glass half full. The 5th verse of Psalm 23 finishes with “my cup runneth over.”

Let’s see, what did God give me? Many verses describe that he gives each human life, breath, the earth and the creation in it. Through Christ, salvation from our sins, redemption, and a great eternity. Through the Holy Spirit, counsel, comfort and companionship.  During our lives he provides us with family, friends, food, shelter, work, talents, senses, and community – all for rich and enjoyable lives. Sometimes we have health and wealth.

I’ve been plodding my way through Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua following the Israelites. I’m astounded at how easily they complained and yearned for their old days of slavery, even after the wonderful care God gave them, and I wonder how could they be that way?

In Numbers 13, Caleb and Joshua scouted out where God was going to lead them. Out of fear they rebelled and grumbled against God in chapters 14 and 16. As a result, God withheld the promise (14:30) to give them the Promised Land, and gave it to their descendants.

Did the Israelites have reason to complain? Were their lives difficult? They were not always easy for sure; wars, desert travel, change, evolving (uncertain) religion and government. They forgot that God was good and generous and that he cared about them and had good things in store if they would follow Him and wait for the blessings.