Is God generous? Does He bless you? Not, “is He a magic genie who grants your every whim?” but–do you see His work in your life as He gives you over and above what you actually need?
“Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!” (Psalms 31:19)
God IS generous. In so many way, more than we could ever really enumerate, He not only does He provide; He provides super-abundantly! In what we call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) The greater context of this verse is of not judging that we wouldn’t be judged, not condemning that we wouldn’t be condemned, forgiving that we would be forgiven, and giving that it would be given to us, but my point is that this is what God’s generosity is like–“good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”
Of course, I’m not preaching a prosperity message. I’m not saying “give financially so God will make you extraordinarily wealthy”–because He probably won’t. Remember what the book of James says? “…when you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong. You want things so you can use them for your own pleasures.” (James 4:3 NCV) God wants us to ask and to bless us, and He is extraordinarily generous, but He does not want us to be greedy or pleasure-seeking. This is why He typically will not give us material blessing for our self-indulgence even if we ask for them–regardless of how many “in Jesus’ name”s we tack onto the end. “In Jesus’ name” simply means “according to His character or as He would desire”–and His desire is our and others’ salvation and sanctification, not self-indulgence.
Yet, while He wants us to pursue holiness, seek His presence, and love others–the opposite of self-indulgent living–He is remarkably and unexpectedly generous as we do so. David, in the famous twenty-third psalm, attested to this: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” (Psalms 23:5) What does this mean? Simply that God gives us good–certainly more than we deserve, and typically more than we even really need. This is what God’s generosity looks like!
I am thinking specifically of a recent experience. Sometimes we hesitate to share personal anecdotes, but the experiences of real people who have real lives and a real relationship with God helps bring the discussion down to the nitty gritty of life–it helps us see how God really acts in the lives of His people. David did this–he shared what God had done for him personally (“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long—though I know not how to relate them all.” Psalm 71:15 NIV)–and we should too.
So, back to my experience. I have been trying to sell an oven through a local Facebook buying and selling group for $150. I was prepared to go down as far as I needed to, yet when the buyer arrived, not only did she give me the full asking price, she also gave it to me in twenties, and told me to keep the extra $10 because I didn’t have change. Something so seemingly insignificant, but it reveals the graciousness–and generousity–of our Father in heaven!
Another experience–not my own but related to me today–is of a Chinese pastor and his wife, who were new Christians. He understood it inevitable that they would eventually be locked up in prison and begged God to give them three years to grow and mature in their faith before being subjected to such persecution–God allowed them exactly three years of ministry before their arrest, as well as a short incarceration and supernatural protection within! God is GOOD.
So, is God generous to you? Does He give you over and above what you really need? Invariably, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see that He exceedingly generous to us–that He gives us so much more than we deserve or even need. The only question that remains is whether we recognize His many blessings to us, and are grateful for them all!
“…How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You!” Amen.