Simon told me a few weeks ago he didn’t think we were giving away enough money. We’ve been concerned about our financial situation -like everyone else – but I knew he was right. So we started to write bigger checks at church, to give to another charity, even to leave larger tips when we go out to eat (which isn’t often, mind you).
You’d think money would be tighter than ever, but something strange has happened.
The more we give, the more we have.
We lost tens of thousands of dollars of income a few weeks ago, but our finances are less stretched than they’ve been in months. We’re not rich, but we’re okay. Granted, there is the decrease in my driving, but this is more than that.
I don’t know why I’m surprised. It’s right here in God’s word:
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 (NLT)
“Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.” 2 Corinthians 8:11-14 (NLT)
It seems that Luke was talking mainly about giving away forgiveness and grace in that first passage, but based on other verses, like the second, I believe he was talking about generosity of all kinds.
I’ve seen God do this before.
A few years ago, when I broke up with Simon and returned to the US from England, some of my good friends invited me to move in with them. They didn’t have an extra bedroom, but there were doors on their dining room, and they asked me if I’d like to make it my room. I happily accepted, feeling that moving back in with my parents wasn’t the right step for me during a confusing time.
I worked as a waitress (because I was quickly learning an English degree doesn’t actually qualify you for anything), and money was tight. I had enough to pay my small share of the rent, but anything beyond that was a struggle. I was even embarrassed one Sunday as a friend walked in on me taking a few cans from the food closet at our church – a resource that was there for just that reason.
But I had never been there before. I had never been that person.
One Sunday, a few weeks later, there was a visiting pastor from a mission in Haiti…an orphanage. He told about the children there, whom he and a few other workers struggled to care for. Most of them had no shoes, only one set of clothes, and only a few meals every week. He asked the people of the church to help. I scribbled on my bulletin, tuning out his pleas, disappointed that I couldn’t help; that I had no money. I was there, on the pew, feeling sorry for myself, when something like a voice, but not a voice, said, “Give.”
What? Give what? I have nothing.
Slowly, I reached into my handbag and pulled out my checkbook. I opened it, glancing around to see where the offering plate was. I began to scribble out a check…a small number I thought my feeble bank account might just be able to handle.
I thought of a slightly higher number, and began to write it.
More? Are you serious? I can’t give more. I don’t have more.
Just then, I saw the usher hand the plate to the man at the end of my row.
Fine, I said, as I scribbled down an amount I knew I didn’t have, and dropped the check into the plate as it passed. Fine. Have it your way. But this check is going to bounce.
Do I really have to tell you that check didn’t bounce? Do I have to tell you that I paid my rent that month, and didn’t starve to death? That friends shared food with me and bought my meals? That I’m still here? Still thriving? Still holding my breath as I try to obey every time he whispers “more“?
I tell you this not to brag about my own giving, but to boast in God’s faithfulness.
He will not let you down.