Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Generosity Encouraged

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Are you generous?

Often when we talk about being thrifty or frugal, many people equate that with being stingy.  That is not what I am talking about.  In fact, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, we are told to lead a life of generosity.  And no, I'm not saying if you are not a Christian that you can't be generous.  But the reality is that one of the marks of a believer should be a generous spirit.

One of the core values of our denomination is that everything we have belongs to God and we are His stewards. 

Luke 21:1-4 says, "Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”

Yet so many people clutch tightly to their possessions.  They cling to them with the attitude that they have worked hard for what they have.  Or they don't have anything to give.  Or they are struggling and shouldn't be expected to be generous.  What they don't realize is that they are hurting themselves.

When we open our hands to give to others, we don't realize that we are also receiving a blessing from the Lord.  As we offer up to Him all that we have, we are receiving from Him too.  Do you really think that poor widow in the story went home and starved after giving all she had?  I don't believe so.  The God I serve pours out His blessings as we empty ourselves in generosity to others.

I want to encourage you today to not be stingy.  Don't clutch onto something that doesn't belong to you anyway.   Why do we continually make excuses about these passages of scripture that teach the concept of giving?  Why do we come up with a thousand reasons why we shouldn't give?

Be known as a generous person.  If you see a need, fill it.  If you have extra, give the extra away.  If you don't have extra, share the bit you have.  As you work on being frugal, don't become stingy.  

Need some practical ideas?

♥ Tithe!  If you are a believer this is a requirement.  I'm not sugar-coating it.  God gives you all and He only asks for a portion back.  Is that really too much to ask?  People will say, "I can't because of xyz."  Isn't it funny that we still always find money for the things we want to do?

♥ Invite people over for dinner.  Often.  Share a meal with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker.

♥ Extra garden bounty?  Share it!

♥ Don't just give the stuff you don't like or don't want.  How cool would it be to actually give away something you value?  

♥ See a need?  Fill the need!  That may be clothing, books, school supplies, etc.  If you know someone is struggling and you ignore that need what does that say about you?

♥ Give of your time.  Sometimes people need a physical, listening ear.  Give it to them.  Volunteer where you can.

♥ Instead of parking yourself in front of the computer or television every night, why not spend that time in prayer, and see what God would have you do.  You may find endless possibilities right before your eyes!

Those are just a few things.  I hope that gets your minds thinking.

Open those hands.  Be generous.  As you open them and give of yourself to others you will find those same hands being filled.  Filled with the blessings of a generous life!