Becoming Generous People

Updated: Mar 29, 2020

This was originally published on InterVarsity's Blog

It’s funny to me how Jesus can get to the heart of our true sin issues with just a couple of words.

Like all InterVarsity staff, my husband and I are generous with our money, when we want to be. I give to organizations that I want to give to with joy and gladness. I give to our church because I believe in the ministry.

But when you ask me to give just a little more—you know, the little more that would take away from the substantial amount of money that goes toward my coffee and book addiction—I start to not be so generous. Especially if that cause is not a cause that is close to my heart.

How as Christians are we to handle money? How do we give cheerfully, even when we don’t want to give?

Learning to be a cheerful giver, regardless of the amount you’re being asked to give, starts with remembering who God is and who you are in relation to Jesus.

Everything we have is a gift from the Lord, and we don’t deserve any of it. I was reminded of this during a stewardship campaign at my church. One Sunday my pastor preached from John 4 (which is not normally a stewardship passage). In it, the woman at the well tells Jesus she has no husband. His response is, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true” (vv. 17-18).

The woman tried to leave out her past husbands and the fact that she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. What she said wasn’t a lie; it just wasn’t the whole truth. Sometimes I forget that God is actually God—that he knows every strand of hair on my head—and I try to only tell him part of the story.

When it came to our church’s campaign, I felt like my husband and I had nothing else to give. We are serious about budgeting, and what we don’t “need” we give. But I realized that I was conveniently leaving out the whole truth. I forgot that I do not need to feed my caffeine addiction with four cups of coffee or that I can actually go to the public library.

When we remember that God knows everything, we’ll start to realize that if he asks us for something, chances are we have it. When we only give him half the truth, we are forgetting he already knows how much he has abundantly blessed us with.


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