Are You Living A Generous Life?

 In Tori Smith

I am sure by now almost all of you – if not all of you have heard that the youth bake sale, to help with hurricane relief in Cuba, made over $600.  I was completely shocked when the final amount came in.  I truly expected it to raise AT MOST, $100 to $200.  I remember in high school having bake sales to raise money for the prom decorations and we would make $40 to $50 and think we had done a great job.  Bake sales are notorious for not making a huge amount of money.   I am sure that all of the wonderful things you all donated to be sold was what drew everyone to the table.  There is no way the youth, or I – or anyone can communicate the depth of our gratitude for you in wanting to support the youth by using your awesome culinary skills!   Freely, generously you gave and the table was full – abundantly full.  

And then the table was not so full any more, again because of you.  Just as you had generously given to fill the table, you generously gave as you received from the table. You received wonderfully baked cookies, breads, candy, etc.   Because of your generosity both in the giving and receiving, the youth are able to be a part of God’s loving restoration that is taking place in Cuba.

As I thought about the generosity of Hope Church, I was reminded that generosity or lack of it, reveals a condition of our spirit.  Scripture is full of verses, passages, teachings on giving and receiving.  And while they may teach the same principle from different points of view, the bottom line is clear  – the one who puts their trust in the Lord will be generous in every area of their life.  So, while many of the verses speak of money, we could also consider time, talents, energy, and skills. Using all that we have to look to the needs of others is the idea behind living generous lives.  I know someone will start to fuss about handouts or someone taking advantage of us.  However, having a generous spirit is not about handouts or being taken advantage of.  In fact the one who is generous knows that all they have is God given, so they can live freely with their possessions and abilities.    The generous one gives of their time, energies, talents and wealth, and they give only in consideration of what God has done for them.  That’s why the widow’s mite was so impressive, not because if was of great earthly value, but because it revealed a great trust in the Lord, who promised to be her provider.  She was able to live generously, with her hand open, not with a clenched fist grabbing hold of everything thing that the Lord had given to her.  

The youth bake sale did much more than raise money, it did much more than provide some restoration for those who have lost everything.  It was a tangible object lesson for the youth on generosity and God’s provision.  God blesses, he provides, he meets our needs – so we can without hesitation live unselfish lives, where we allow all that God gives to move freely through our hands when we see God at work.  As I think about this church and the depth of your generous spirits, I am reminded of Paul’s instruction to Timothy:  1 Timothy 6:17-19 (ESV) “17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

May each of you experience the blessings of our God in a mighty way as you continue to live in generous ways!

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