“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:11 (ESV)
Happy New Year! As we wrap up the holiday season, we begin planning on how to make the most of the coming year. We make New Year’s resolutions, create a plan to achieve new goals, and usually make it at least a few days in before life and old habits draw us back to our comfort zones.
One way I try to combat the drift back to the familiar ground I’m trying to escape is to choose a word of the year. I make this word my screen saver on my phone so it is constantly in front of me. My word this year is Generosity.
For the past several years, God has spoken my word to me a few months before January. This year is no exception and I’ve had some time to think about what God may try to teach me in 2024. Only time will tell if I’m on the right track.
While generosity is usually associated with being fiscally charitable, God reminded me that generosity is about so much more than money. Our verse today says we will be “enriched in every way to be generous in every way.” God is talking about more than giving money to good causes. Here’s what I think God wants me to learn this year
Generous with our Time
I need to stop protecting my time so much. In fact, I need to stop considering it “my time” and realize that all time belongs to God. When someone asks me to do something that will require a time commitment, I usually start with “no” then hedge with “maybe” before finally asking God what answer He wants me to give.
Giving all our time to God doesn’t mean we don’t plan the day and schedule time for tasks, events, or family, it means we give God permission to direct how we use our time. When people need help, “yes” should be our first impulse followed by a quick check with God to see if that’s the right answer. Learning to be generous with our time opens the door for God to bless us and others. The result is that our time produces thanksgiving in our lives and the lives of those we help.
Generous with our Finances
Yes, money is included in generosity. And yes, money is tight right now. But our God is the “cattle on a thousand hills” kind of God (see Psalm 50). Not a God who can barely provide for His kids. When God asks us to open our hand, and wallet, to someone we need to learn to be willing to listen immediately.
My normal response is “well, I’ll pray about it and when I know for sure, then I’ll act.” Praying is always good, and no one wants to hand out money to someone who isn’t truly going to use it well. But sometimes I use it as an excuse to either not give or to delay giving. As we practice drawing near to God, we know immediately when it is His voice whispering “give.” And when we know it is God prompting us to give, we can give immediately and with joy and thanksgiving for what He will do through us.
Generous with our Things
I admit, I can be territorial. My space, my things. I’m pretty easy going most of the time, but I like my space to be neat so I can work efficiently and I like my things to be where I can find them. So when others get in my space and mess with my stuff, I can get a bit touchy. What can I say, I’m a work in progress.
I’m not completely sure where God is leading me to be generous with my stuff, but I feel He has a lesson waiting for me in 2024. Perhaps this is a year for packrats and hoarders to start unpacking and giving to people who need what we aren’t using. Maybe it’s a year to stop worrying about if we’ll get our stuff back if we let someone borrow it. Maybe it’s a year to stop letting our stuff own us.
Generous with our TRUST
No matter where God is calling us to be generous, I believe the underlying and deeper message is that we need to trust God generously. Do we trust Him enough to give of our time and resources when we aren’t sure we’ll have enough? What if an emergency comes up and we need what we’ve given away? What if we get sick? What if we get in an accident? What if …?
These are questions I ask when I feel prompted to give more than I can “safely” give. The what ifs in life can block my desire to give. If we pull back the veil of all of the what ifs, we’ll see their true name is fear. Fear of not having enough, not being enough, not doing enough.
Let’s not allow fear to rule our lives. Let’s learn to be generous in whatever way God calls us to generosity and whenever He calls us. The real question is will we trust Him enough to say “Yes”?
I have a feeling I’m about to find out this year.
Father, thank you for your call to be generous. Help me to trust you completely so when you ask me to give what I think is mine that I freely give it. Remind me that everything belongs to You and to trust You as my provider, Father, and Lord. Show me how to be more like You and let generosity flow through me to produce thanksgiving and glory for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.