Mar212014

Do You Know a Generous God?

It’s an intimate question, isn’t it? One that you’d probably like to respond to with a hearty ‘YES!’ but also one where you probably immediately think of all those areas where you feel like God has come up short in the ‘generosity’ department. You may think “Yea, my marriage is ok, but we still financially struggle month to month” or “I like my friends a lot, but I’m still waiting on my mate over here…” It always seems like we could use just a little (or a lot maybe?) more from God if He’d just hand it out, doesn’t it?

I think we tend to answer this question by asking ourselves, “Have I gotten what I’ve wanted in life?” And depending on if you have your dream spouse/job/children/body/family/house/wardrobe/talents/etc. You’ll say “Yes-God is so good!” or “No. I feel forgotten about.” I think there’s a better way to think about the question. Not by “did I get what I wanted” but in “look what I have been given…” It’s similar to cultivating a lifestyle of thankfulness. When you look around you to find something to be thankful for everyday, it starts to slowly but surely become an ingrained habit and part of your natural way of thinking. If you’re willing to open up your thoughts to what God has given you - what He has filled your life with, you’ll find answers. Family, friends, perhaps a job, a roof over your head, food to eat, clothes to wear, a pretty flower or scenery, a cute picture of an animal, or a beautiful song, forgiveness, mercy, grace, hope - we have much! Generosity is all around you. If we start to look for what we have been given, we may know God to be generous in a way we didn’t before.

When we go to examine a characteristic of God, we must not only use our personal experience. If we claim Christ, we are a redeemed people, being made new, but our minds don’t always perceive correctly, and our view points have certain prejudices based on our stories. We must have a rounded approach, looking both at God’s Holy Scripture as well as examining our own experiences. God starts his generosity to us right off the bat in the creation story. Take a look at Genesis 1: 28-31 (NIV). Right after he creates man and woman it says…

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it, They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.”

Do you hear those words of generosity? “Every.” “All.” “Fill the earth.” “Everything.” “The whole earth.” “Very good.” We’ve been given a lot as children of God. All of creation is ours. For us to enjoy and to steward. So here’s a question to ask yourself - can God still be a generous God even if I don’t have everything I want?

In the Bible we’re not promised everything we’ve ever wanted. We’re promised what we need. We’re promised adoption into the family of God, made to be heirs through Jesus paying our price for sin on the cross. We’re given rebirth! Newness. Second life. Grace to cover all.

Comfort. Compassion. Mercy. Jesus promises that God cares for us and meets our needs as he does the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26).

Have you ever felt God’s generosity in a particularly difficult season of life? Here’s a quick story from my own life. My husband and I tried for a little over two years to have our first child. It was a long and difficult process. Full of disappointment, longing, sadness and fear to have hope for something that seemed so impossible. Yet, in that time I remember experiencing generosity. We were open with our community group, close friends and family about our desire and struggle and we felt waves of love and support from them. They were so generous with their compassion, hugs, prayers, support and listening; God used them to love us well. Our doctors and nurses at the fertility clinic were generous with their talents and time. One doctor even gave us a discounted rate at one appointment (this process is expensive!). God was so generous to me in my quiet times, reminding me of His love for me, His care for me and His affection for me. He reminded me that my longing for motherhood could be filled in numerous ways - with a child or not. He reminded me of songs of comfort and hope. It was never a promise that I’d get what I wanted. Nor was my wanting a bad thing! It was just so important to not let my yearning become my measure of “if God loved me.” This wasn’t an easy process. I hope I don’t have to go through it again, and don’t wish it on anyone! But, my point is, that even in struggle God can be generous. I pray your eyes may be opened to see God’s generous love to you even when your surrounding circumstances feel difficult, or your unanswered yearning pierces you deeply.

Here’s a list of verses in the Bible that talk about God’s generosity. If you’re in need of some encouragement today, I pray this lifts your spirits and helps you to start looking for generosity where it blossoms around you.

  • 1 John 3:1a “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

  • Ephesians 1:7-8 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding”

  • Lamentations 3:21-23 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love for us we are not consumed for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

  • Exodus 34:6-7a “And he [The Lord] passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to though sands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

  • The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:22-24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

  • Psalm 65 (particularly vs. 9-13)

  • Jeremiah 31:12-14 “They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord-the grain, the new wine and the oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their moaning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty , declares the Lord.”

  • I Timothy 6:17 “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.”

  • Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

  • Psalm 145:8 “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

  • Psalm 23:5 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.”

  • Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

There are loads more verses that could be listed, but this is a good start. If you have any questions, or wrestlings with God being a generous God to you, we would love to talk more about it with you and pray for you. Thank you God, for your generosity to us. May we be filled with it and overflow abundantly to all we know.

Topics: 
40 Days of Generosity
Creation
generosity
God
Hope
meditation
Prayer
scripture
Story
theology