One of the stories from the Bible that touches my heart deeply and that reminds me of one of the most important promises, is the one of the widow who receives Elijah in Zarephath. (1 Kings 17:10-15)
He asks her for water and bread and we can almost feel her desperation when she tells him she “was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal and then my son and I will die”. In spite of this and even if she didn’t want it, God was in the midst of their situation of pain and deprivation.
We can see some symbolism here: there’s water, oil (the Holy Spirit) and bread (Jesus) = GOD.
What was this woman really lacking? Was she really lacking things or God?
The prophet uplifts her spirit with the word God had for her after asking for something. Before she receives the promise, she must do something that is difficult for her in that moment: GIVE.
So when she obeyed, she trusted the promise that God had for her, and she brought uncountable blessings on herself by giving someone else what she (and her son) needed.
We give so others can receive too. We bring blessings on others and on ourselves too. We give, we bless and we show our detachment to worldly things.
Sometimes God asks this of us to guard and keep our hearts from selfishness. Remember the prophet was better than she was and still, she gave.
We must be sensitive to God’s voice to give others (who He wants) what He wants us to give them.
In this materialistic world, we are constantly attacked by a consumerist society. That’s why we must renew our minds and hearts and remember that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We need to think something like this: “I love that God uses me to bless others.”
There’s another example of giving everything we need in the New Testament. Jesus sees another widow giving all she had… two coins (Mark 12:41-44). She gives what she needs to live, she has nothing else. And Jesus sees her. She saw the intentions of her heart. He saw a thankful heart that trusted the Lord and that he knows exactly what we need.
God calls us to give Him what is his but also to give others.
- With a humble heart. Not like the Pharisees who wanted everyone to see them as they gave, but secretly.
- Asking God to guide you when giving, not only by being sensitive to his voice but also by being sensitive to what others need.
- In 2 Corinthians 9:7 we are told to decide in our hearts how much to give and to give cheerfully! As soon as we start giving we feel all the grace that is poured on us in so many ways. But we must give that first step.
- Be ready to help people in need and this includes practicing hospitality (Romans 12:13).
- Be authentic. This means to give without expecting to receive. Even though the promise is “give and you will receive” (Luke 6:38), don’t focus on the second part. God is giving and generous and He wants us to be like him in this. He will know if we have any ulterior motives. Remember he examines our hearts (1 Chronicles 29:17) and sees our intentions.
Do I have a giving and generous heart?
Let’s think of another story in the Bible.
Jesus went to Bethany to visit Lazarus. Mary was there. She takes a jar of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus’s feet. After that, she wiped them with her hair. She showed the Lord pure, phileo love. And the place was filled with this fragrance and worshipping atmosphere. Nobody had ever done something like that.
Judas Iscariot was also there. He scolded Mary claiming she should’ve sold it to give the money to the poor. But he didn’t care about the poor. He wanted some of that money for himself. He was regretting that he couldn’t benefit from the perfume as he did with so many things that weren’t his.
So I would like you to think and ask the Lord to show you how is your heart… Is it similar to Mary’s or to Judas’s? How do you want to be?
A generous heart is the result of a thankful heart.
Do we thank God enough? Do we praise Him and honor Him by giving cheerfully to others? Do we give what we should or a tiny part of our surplus? What are you waiting for to give God what He wants you to give?
When you are struggling with this think about everything that Jesus has done for you.
What we can do might not seem like much but it will help to bring the Kingdom to many and to show God’s love to those who don’t know Him yet.
I hope this post has helped you to identify some ways in which we can become more generous and giving to glorify the Lord.
If you think this might be helpful to someone you know, don’t hesitate and share it with them.
Also, please comment below or go to our private Facebook group and let us know your thoughts about this topic. What has helped you to give cheerfully? Do you think you could be more giving and generous? What piece of advice would you give others?
Be gracious and don’t forget God’s love never fails.