I love it when people are generous with their time, money and possessions. I feel comfortable around them and inspired to be like them. But it is not at all easy for me. I like my stuff. I like to be in control of my time.
On the other extreme, stinginess is not an endearing quality. Who wants to be a scrooge? It’s not high on the list of “most desirable traits” in a friend. Overall, I think we all long for more generosity in the world.
It can be difficult for me to see God’s generosity at times, for I can easily have tunnel vision and only notice what I seem to lack. Do you ever notice yourself complaining out loud or in your heart about what you don’t have or about what others do have? Do you find yourself worrying about not having enough or wondering how things are going to manage? It can feel like life is stingy or greedy. There is no date in sight. The money is slim. There is no ladder to climb. Friends seem scarce. Does God even care that I am needy? It doesn’t always feel like God is generous.
What does God’s generosity look like?
There are times that I thought God’s generosity was demonstrated through material blessing or success primarily. I would hear people say things like, “God has blessed her. Look how well she is doing.” His generosity seemed to be indicated by success. Or people would say, “God is blessing it. Look at all the numbers and how popular it is.” (I would think, “Yeah, they must be doing something right, since they are having great results.) Success then, seemed to be equated with God’s favor. If you are doing something right, then you will be rewarded by God’s generosity and blessing.
But, what about the people who don’t see financial gain, better health or a job turn up? Is God generous towards them? Towards me? If God is not “blessing,” is God not generous?
There are many reasons I love the famous Psalm 23, but for me this Psalm (along with many passages) reminds me of God’s blessing and generosity.
You are probably familiar with it:
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
It is amazing to think of all the words this Psalm uses to describe God’s abundant care: makes, leads, restores, prepares, etc. He provides for our core needs: to be cared for and kept securely. It also says that He is with me and will be for the rest of my life, forever– again His incredible provision. His ways are generous towards me.
A few ways I notice God’s Generosity
His generosity is displayed all around me, whether I take notice of it or not. Nature is one of the first places I see God’s generosity revealed. The bluebonnets are about to cover the landscape along the highways here in Texas. There will not be just a few, but there will be a sea of them around each curve and turn. God’s beauty comes in so many forms- sunsets reappearing, boundless oceans, beautiful types of shores, countless colors and terrain. The list is long and wide. He reveals to me His generous creativity and design.
The second way I experience the generosity of God, is in His abundant forgiveness. I remember vividly when I was a freshmen in college and Jennifer, my bible study leader, explained that all my sins were forgiven in Christ. My past sins, current sins, and future sins were paid for by His death on the cross. I couldn’t fathom this. It seemed to good to be true. I felt like I needed to do more of the “right” thing to earn such blessing and generosity. His forgiveness is still abundant and generous for me.
The third way I experience God’s generosity, is through His nearness. As Psalm 23 says, “For You are with me.” The God of the universe does not say He will be with me when I am good, right, or feel blessed. The God of the universe is always with me– this is generous love. And not only that, He continues His loving work in my life– He doesn’t forget about me, but He is working for me, through me and with me to make me more of a whole person. He doesn’t just provide stingily, but wants me to be complete and full. He then overflows from my life in generous ways to others. His blessing to me, is a blessing to others. This is generosity.
Now, when I wonder if God is generous towards me. I think, “yes,” right away. But instead of thinking, “What things did I do right to earn this?” I wonder, “How do I deserve this?” I don’t. His nature is one of blessing and generosity. My cup is not half empty nor is it half full. It is not just full, but it is now overflowing.
What ways have you seen His generosity?
God is generous. To remember this makes me thankful.
If this was helpful, consider sharing it with a friend. Also, you may like: Turning Disappointment into Hope, if your cup feels “half-empty.”