Last week, we began our Heart & Wallet series that set the stage with an inward look at our hearts.
As we saw last week, generosity is a matter of the heart, not the wallet. Our hearts must be ready to be generous. It’s easy for us to write a check or click the give button on our mobile phones, but if our hearts do not align with our giving, they can feel empty.
Giving, and being generous, should be a joyful and fun experience. We often equate generosity to a financial gift, but generosity (as a whole) is more than just a check – it’s about meeting a need that is before you.
This week, let’s explore the idea of purposeful generosity.
What Is Purposeful Generosity?
Purposeful generosity is giving to a need or needs that God lays on your heart. Each year as I plan my annual giving, I identify those charities or non-profits that God is laying on my heart, and I designate an overall percentage of my income to give.
There is a hot debate in the church on the terminology and the percentage that we are to give. Is it a tithe? Is that 10% of my income or something else? What if I want to give more or less than 10%?
Will I be a “lesser” Christian if I don’t give 10%?
As I shared last week, my heart naturally leans towards being generous with my finances, but I have been all over the map throughout my life.
Here’s what I don’t believe. I don’t believe that if I give “X” dollars to God that it is going to come back to me as some sort of financial return or gift. The reason I don’t believe in this idea is that it means our giving is linked to a return. If I don’t give, I won’t get it.
As followers of Christ, we give because we want to give, not because we are expecting something in return.
God can do anything He wants, and sometimes He chooses to give back to people with a financial gift. However, He also can choose to give us a warm sunny day, a good parking spot, or good health.
We don’t know the mind of God, and I cannot even tell you why He blesses people in certain ways, and others in a different way.
Each year, my family and I give back to a charity, a need, or even a person in an anonymous way. We listen, pray and pay attention to the needs around us. At the beginning of each year, we budget a certain amount and look for that need God wants us to meet.
One year, we gave bicycles to kids in Africa. Another year, we bought a cow for a family in India or Africa that would feed their family and the community for a long time.
Another year, we gave money to a family who was struggling. We get clever on the presentation to disguise who we are, and if we are giving to someone it’s usually a bank check.
This particular time we either mailed it or dropped it off at their work. When I saw the person, they told me about this unexpected gift. They even called the bank to verify that the check was good.
Most of the time, I never get to hear the end of the story, but this time, God gave me a glimpse at the end, and it filled my heart with joy.
I don’t say these things to brag, but rather to share that being purposeful in our giving brings joy, and meets a need.
There is a blessing in the giving as much as the receiving.
What Would Happen If You Didn’t Give?
God is interesting. He taps us on our hearts and asks us to join Him in the work He is doing. God uses us, ordinary people, to fulfill his blessing.
If you miss the ask or choose not to participate in the ask, God will use someone else, but you will miss out on the blessing He had for you.
I have missed out a number of times because I didn’t listen to His request or let busyness crowd my mind with other things.
I have also had the reverse happen. It’s hard to explain, but when God speaks to me, it is like an impression on my heart. I know it’s from Him when the request comes in.
One example is I was in line at the Starbucks drive-thru and felt God say to pay for the person behind me. So I did. I don’t know why God asked me to do it, but I did it. What I wasn’t prepared for was the reaction from Starbucks employees – they could not believe it (and it made their day).
I have also been the recipient of someone’s kindness in that way, and the employee asks if I want to continue the chain of goodness. Of course, I did it, but we seem to be missing these little moments of goodness today.
In the book of 1 Timothy, he says,
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” – 1 Timothy 6:18
Why does Timothy share this with us – be rich in good deeds…be generous and willing to share?
Earlier in the passage, he says,
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10
Many people have confused this verse with the idea that money is evil. That is not what scripture is saying. Scripture goes back to our heart.
As we have said, “Generosity is a matter of the heart, not the wallet.” Timothy is saying that the love of money is the root of the problems. We need money to buy groceries, necessities and be able to give purposefully when asked to do so.
When we get into the mindset that money is everything, that’s when our heart steers away from generosity.
Later in the passage, we see God’s heart for us. 1 Timothy 3:17 says,
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
The Lord challenges those who are rich today to be wise stewards with their financial resources including purposeful generosity. God wants to use us to be a blessing in someone’s life, and we can’t do that when we are selfish.
I want to challenge you this week as you are coming to the end of the year, to ask God if there is someone or something that He wants you to be a part of in some way.
It could be:
- Operation Christmas Child – preparing a box for a child
- Angel Tree – preparing a gift for an orphan or a child whose parent is incarcerated.
- Bring a meal to a homeless person
- Giving to your local church
- Giving to a special Thanksgiving or Christmas project
Secondly, I want you to think about what your percentage giving might be in 2022. For some, it might be 1 or 2% or maybe it’s 20%. That is between you and God.
I have heard of people living on 10% and giving 90% away. Granted, their 10% is probably more like my 60-80% so it is relative, but that is a decision they came to with God’s help.
All I am asking is for you to think about it.
We are blessed in so many ways, and I hope this week you are able to be a blessing to someone around you.
Lord, thank you for your commandment to be generous and be willing to share. This week, please show each one of us how we can be a blessing to someone around us. Thank you for your love and grace. Amen!
- How To Be Rich – Andy Stanley (book)
- Thank You Lord (feat. Thomas Rhett & Florida Georgia Line) – Chris Tomlin (song)
- Be Rich Campaign
- 2021 Be Rich Message – Andy Stanley (NorthPoint Community Church)
- 2021 Be Rich Celebration Message – Andy Stanley (NorthPoint Community Church)
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