You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11)
One of the first words each of our four children voiced early on in toddlerhood was the word, “MINE!” It was a familiar expression shouted between them as each tried their best to hang onto what was in their hands at the time. Trying to teach their young hearts that God owned everything and His desire was for us to be generous in sharing those gifts with others, was a most difficult concept for them to grasp.
Recently I was enjoying an afternoon at the beach collecting shells. As I walked along the shoreline I mentioned to God, “I sure would love to find an unbroken sand dollar.” In all the years I had enjoyed New Smyrna Beach, I don’t ever remember finding an intact sand dollar on its eastern shores. Without exaggeration, I took maybe ten steps, and to my astonishment noticed what looked like the top of a beige shell with sand dollar markings. “No way,” I said out loud and excitedly brushed the waters back and forth to remove the thin layer of sand covering it. Sure enough, peering back at me was a most beautiful, completely intact, sand dollar! I was stunned! I gathered it up with childlike joy and practically skipped through the water, thanking God for His goodness and intimate display of love for me.
Passing a young mother and her two children I stopped and opened my hand wide revealing my prize saying, “Look what I found today! I asked God for a sand dollar and sure enough, He led me to it.” The young boy’s eyes widened exclaiming, “I’ve never seen a sand dollar before!” He admired my rare find, and then ran off to find his own sea treasures. As I continued walking I thought, “God, would you lead me to another sand dollar so I can give it to that young boy?” Without warning the question appeared, “Why don’t you give him the one in your hand?” Instantly I felt the fingers of my heart clench snug around the sand dollar I was holding. Facing my resistance I whimpered back, “But you gave this to me! It’s mine!” Like my young children, I was doing my best to hold onto what was in my hand.
As I waded back home that afternoon, the conversation in my heart with God was tender and without condemnation. Like a mother with her child, God gently reminded me that He was lavishly generous with me in offering His Beloved Son. That sacrificial giving would mark my heart the more I cherished and understood His amazing gift of grace. Furthermore, He reminded me that there wasn’t one gift I enjoyed that wasn’t given by Him, created by Him, sustained and held together by His generosity. My heart was refreshed with the truth that each gift He gives, He also empowers me by His Spirit, to offer it in order to enrich the kingdom in a way that ushers in thanksgiving to God, and bring honor to the name of the Lord. Every gift, including the treasure of a found sand dollar, enriches me so that on every occasion I can in turn be generous, resulting in the praise and thanksgiving to God. Jesus is my Prize, and by God’s grace my hands will remain opened wide, generously offering His treasures.
May we be reminded today of His enormous generosity in Christ Jesus. Every way that He has made us rich—community, love, time, resources, finances, giftedness, job, family, ministry—we in turn may be rich in our generosity on every occasion to the glory and thanksgiving of God. May we at LBC be a generous people who have hands opened wide with His good gifts.
How to pray...
- As a follower of Christ, ask God to show you today how you might be generous and help reveal God to the world.
- Take time to thank God for the specific ways He has been generous to you.
- Ask God to show you how he wants you to use your gifts and talents at LBC to reach our community and city.
- Pray today that God would enlarge your heart in your understanding of His generosity, as displayed through His Son, Christ Jesus.
For the Family
- As a family look up the word "generous" and then put it into your own words.
- Share a time when someone has been generous to you and how that made you feel.
- Share a time when you have really understood God’s generosity to you.
- What are ways that we can be generous beyond how we often view generosity to others around us (money/material versus time/words/actions, etc.)
"Generosity" - Kim Anderson
Anchored by God’s Word, Kim Anderson is passionate about awarding worth and cultivating growth in women by helping them understand their identity in Christ. Married for 25 years to her husband Danny, they have four children. A writer and speaker at heart, Kim is grateful for the gift of words!
"For the Family" - Michelle Crouse
Michelle Crouse has served as the director of LBC's children's ministry—SPLASH Kids—since the end of 2011. She and her husband Joshua were married in 2002 and have 2 children. Michelle grew up outside of Boston and graduated from James Madison University in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She loves being with kids and loves the opportunity to be a part of teaching children how much they are loved by God, and helping them grow in their understanding of what that means.