God is always trying to give good things to us, but we have our hands too full to receive them.Saint Augustine
I read the quote above and thought, You bet my hands are full! My pantry is full of pasta and paper goods!
We are currently in a time of scarcity, not abundance. Throughout the day the news tells me there is not enough to go around: Not enough hospital beds, respirators, masks, and now a great loss of jobs due to COVID-19. This is an especially hard time to open my hands to give fully, even if God promises to give something good in exchange.
Thankfully God does not change in crisis. In Malachi 3:10, the Lord says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And thereby put Me to the test, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
In this time of scarcity, we’re called to be generous. My friend Mary recently spent a day eliminating expenses like Netflix and other monthly subscriptions. When she made the call to cancel Tae Kwon Do she was met with resistance and told she was under a contract. The call ended in harsh words on both sides. The Tae Kwon Do owner called back a few minutes later to communicate they would cancel the monthly payment, but soon they will not be able to pay their employees. Mary remembered that generosity is the way people see God’s heart. She responded saying not only would she continue with the monthly payment, but double it! Mary experienced such joy in giving generously.
Radical generosity gets our attention. In just the last few weeks, Today show co-host Hoda Kotb broke down on air after interviewing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees about his $5 million donation to the state of Louisiana amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And in Naples, Florida an anonymous diner left a behind a $10,000 tip at Skillets restaurant. The tip was distributed so each employee would receive $500. Little did they know that the next day, the governor would force dining rooms statewide to close. But,God knew and provided through giving.
Love motivated generosity changes the world. As Jesus reminds us in John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus was gathered with His friends and disciples in a home when a woman poured her expensive perfume over His Head. The friends and disciples reacted with criticism saying this was wasteful. But Jesus saw a generous heart. He said, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed” (Matthew 26:10-13).
What are you holding on to that could be given generously to further the Kingdom of God? Is it your time, your talent, or your treasure? God wants to lavish you with so many beautiful blessings. I am learning that true joy comes from releasing what is in our hands and living a life of radical generosity.
For further reflection, read Matthew 6:19-34