I recently read a book about generosity. I knew we were heading into series on generosity and wanted to go deeper again with God in this area of my life.
I grew up having a deep appreciation for money. We weren’t wealthy but we were never wanting either. Money was highly valued, highly respected and hard-earned in our household. Unintentionally, this kind of attitude can lead to an unhealthy attachment to finance and what it seems to promise. I have fought this mindset over the years since starting to earn income myself.
I can now honestly say that I joyfully give to God from my heart. His unconditional love for me is overwhelming; His generosity and grace towards me is something I simply can’t fathom. I don’t have to give to Him; I get to give! I genuinely want to put Him first in my finances.
That said, once I’ve given to God, the temptation is just too easy to become possessive about what’s left, what’s ‘mine’ (my precious!).
As I read this book, I know God spoke to me. What might seem like an elementary concept for some, had new life for me. God had my attention.
Psalm 24:1 (NLT)
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.
It’s ALL His.
In the same way that my whole life is His, my whole livelihood is His also.
He’s the One who provides my income in the first place. I’m keenly aware that my wages are undoubtedly His provision so that I can do what He’s got me on earth to do. Once I’ve given to God for His Kingdom, the rest is not for me and my kingdom; it’s all for His purposes. It’s just in my pocket to steward wisely according to His will. Because it’s ALL His.
When I start to see all of my finances as His, I now live a life ready for generosity in whatever form it takes. As Isaiah writes about, I plan ways to be generous. I trust Him with my life and my whole livelihood. I demonstrate that trust by giving as He leads and directs; with due wisdom (paying bills, getting groceries, general adulting) and utterly free of any sense of duty or duress.
The truth is, I’m not there yet in practice all of the time. I can get caught up like the rest of us in the distraction that is money! I get disillusioned that what’s left after first giving to God is mine to spend as I like to, and I temporarily forget that it’s not mine at all. I have incredibly generous people in my world who constantly inspire me to give – give to Jesus, give to organisations, give to people. They demonstrate a beautiful and genuine trust in God that I admire.
I will continue to bring my giving to Jesus, into the local church that He has planted me in, because I have a heart to do it. No obligatory giving here. No one is telling me I need to give or what I need to give.
With what’s left, I want to be ready to be generous, ready to outwork His purposes on the earth and looking for ways to give more.
It demonstrates to Him, others, and importantly to myself (shaking off my childhood mentality!), that I trust my Father with my whole life and livelihood. It’s ALL His.