We need to hold up wonderful examples like these. From Neal’s Daily Bread, sent out today.
The Relationships of Generosity
I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of some people. Their capacity and faith for giving seems endless, yet their cheerfulness under such circumstances defies the understanding of man.
While I have known so many generous people, none excel my parents. Living on a very limited income for most of their adult lives, starting the life in preaching back in the mid-1960s, they have constantly poured out from that limited reserve abundantly upon others.
I cannot count the number of poor families for whom they have bought a week’s worth of groceries.
They spend whatever Christmas bonus they have received plus so much more, buying gifts for members.
They have lent assistance to needy family and church members.
They have refused raises, asking instead that the increase go to support a missionary. This is on top of their regular contribution, which by percentage would make most wealthy members blush in shame.
I could write pages, giving specific examples of extraordinary good they have done with relatively little.
The question that dominates my thinking is, “How have they developed such a giving spirit?”
The answer that recently hit me is “relationship.”
They have a proper relationship with people. It takes a servant’s heart, a heart which acts in love and concern for one’s fellowman, to so generously give. When we see our task as helping people however we can, we will give. We will give each Sunday, and we will find ways to give in our private opportunities.
They have a proper relationship with money. What grace it requires to see money as a tool and a servant, a commodity used to live but also to give. Hoarders hurt, but sharers shine. Frivolity is sinful. Generosity is a grace. They, like Paul, have known abundance, though more often they have suffered want (Phil. 4:10ff). Which ever lot was theirs at the time, they seemed just as joyful and full of peace. They are savers, but they are also givers. They live well within their means, but they give well beyond their ability (2 Cor. 8:1ff).
They have a proper relationship with God. Their sentiment is like the one I heard expressed very recently by a great gospel preacher in our area. He said, “God will always give us the exact amount of money we need.” If we trust that the God who made us and remade us through Christ is control of it all, we know He will supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19). If we see ourselves as His stewards (managers, 1 Cor. 4:2), we will happily serve as a conduit of generosity.
God has not caused their generosity to impoverish them. To the contrary, they live as close to debt-free as people can in our society. God has blessed them with things that man would find impossible to believe they could own in the wake of such bountiful benevolence and generous giving.
What a lesson they serve to all of us to understand the relationships of generosity! Thanks, Dad and Mom.