I know. Everyone is asking for money this time of year, and it can be so easy to feel like all people want from you is a dollar (or twenty!). But there’s one YUGE (sorry, Donald) reason that you and I can’t afford to simply shrug our shoulders and walk away from “generosity opportunities” this time of year (or any time, for that matter):
God blesses the generous.
Now, before you whip out your cash and get ready to invest in God’s great pyramid scheme, let’s qualify that statement just a bit, and then I’ll give you some insight from our church’s own 2016 case study to back it up.
God does indeed bless the generous, because He said He would in Proverbs 11:25. It reads “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” The key question, of course, is what does He mean by prosper?
The Hebrew word means “to be made fat,” which is weird because so many of us are trying to do anything BUT be made fat! But the point is that God makes sure that generous people always have plenty, and He does that for one very simple reason: God can give generous people more because He knows they’ll use it to find more ways to be generous!
In 2 Corinthians 9:11, God makes it clear that His purpose in giving TO us is so that He can give THROUGH us. “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (emphasis added)
Add to that the promise of 3 John 1:2 and we see that our prosperity is always tied to the condition of our souls. People who are prospering in their relationship with Jesus tend to always find ways to be generous. Their bonus becomes a way to bless another family. Their gifts include gifts for another. Their new car allows them to give away the older car instead of parking it in the driveway “in case we need it later.”
Generosity isn’t at the mercy of our situations; it comes from God’s mercy in our situations. That’s why it’s NEVER a good time to throttle back on generosity, because our souls are prospering independent of our circumstances. Let me share a story to show how God continues to bless us if we continue to show generosity, even in tough times.
2016 has been a tough year at The Gathering, the church that we planted in 2011. Don’t get me wrong, people are still coming and Jesus is still very much alive in our services. But this year we experienced the move of God by, well, moving. What we thought would be a short skip and a jump from one location to another has turned into a longer stay in the “in between” place. Waiting is hard, and when the waiting is tied to the renovation of an old 14,000 square foot building, it can cause one to want to keep all the money in reserve “in case we need it later.” Sounds a lot like that old car parked in the driveway, doesn’t it?
In the first 4 years of our church’s existence, we’ve been able to give away anywhere from 16-21% of our annual income to missions both at home and around the world, and this year – even while facing the unknown of a future building renovation, even as we brought on our 2nd full-time staff member, and even while we faced a “yet to be determined” lengthy transition – we decided that we couldn’t afford to NOT continue being generous.
The result? We’ll give more to mission this year than in any previous year, and it’s not even close. When the ball drops on 2016, our church will have given close to 27% of our income away, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
And how did God show Himself to be the faithful God who promised to refresh us if we were generous? We’ve had the funds for a down payment on our “new to us” building as well as being able to self-fund the initial demo and drawings needed to prepare for the up fit.
And there are no lottery winners in our church. Just generous people who believe that God gives to us so that He can give through us, and then He gives to us again so we can repeat the cycle.
Tomorrow, our church will have our 4th annual BIG GIVE, and even though it’s tempting to take up an offering just for us, we know that when we take 100% of this offering and give it away to non-profits in our area, that God will keep His promise to refresh us.
Souls set free, addictions broken, a city finding hope in Jesus. All of these and more refresh us, and we expect that God will give all of them in full measure to us as we give what we can to Him.
Perhaps you’d like to be a part of THE BIG GIVE? Simply click the link to learn more about it and give securely online.