What a heart

The documentary was a sad story of fraud, one man’s choices that turned the lives of dozens of families upside down. I was moved with compassion, at first, for the woman who was the catalyst for legal action on behalf of those who shared her losses. But, as the story continued, I saw her sorrow change into anger and then to rage. No longer was she looking for justice. She lusted for revenge. The justice system did what it could to set things right but in her eyes in was ‘not enough.’   

The great tragedy is that she was doubly harmed, first by the original fraud, then by allowing the man who had defrauded her to ‘take over’ her life, filling her days with an endless quest to ‘make him pay.’  As the program closed, I prayed for her that she could find God’s grace, be touched by His love, and her heart be opened to the miracle of generous forgiveness.

Generosity is much more than giving to our church or a charity. Truly generous people invest themselves, their love in others. They are unconcerned about ‘fair shares’ preferring to trust God for enough. They seek to understand the faults and failures of others, realizing that ‘but for the grace of God, there go I.”   

Ponder this amazing declaration of God’s Word!  “When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. All goes well for those who are generous, who lend freely and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil circumstances.” (Psalm 112:4-6, NLT)  David says that the righteous “are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.” (Psalm 37:26, NIV)  

Yes, Christian, GENEROSITY is a way of life that comes from knowing we are richly resourced by our Heavenly Father. It flows out of a phrase I first learned from Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,  that speaks of living with an “abundance mentality.”   When we are convinced that there are enough resources to share with others we will live generously.  

It is a spiritual principle that generosity multiplies our resources rather than diminishing them. Jesus said it first – “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (Luke 6:38, The Message)

Those who give of themselves and their resources most generously are like their Father.  Consider the world He has created for us. It overflows with abundance.  Millions live in poverty that is the result of sin – greed, exploitation, abuse, and misuse of resources. (I am not shaming the poor!  Many are victims of others, oppressed by the powerful.)  The world in which we live has enough and more and when we learn the twin concepts of God’s provision and personal contentment, we will become truly rich and overflow with generosity from enlarged hearts.

One author says – “Generosity is a natural consequence of God’s creation of humanity. Generosity is a mark of one whose life is found in God’s saving work. Generosity is modeled by Jesus, and continued in His name by those who find their hope in Him. When such generosity is found, our culture and civilization will flourish!”  (Ty Benbow)

God’s generosity extends to our deepest need – to be loved. One of my favorite passages in the Bible tells me of the love we can know through Christ Jesus. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ” (1 John 3:1, NIV)  

Want to grow a great heart?  Need to find a way to forgive, to love, to live the richly resourced life that God desires for you? Start with the love of God for you.  By faith, receive His gift of grace, His forgiveness, and the restoration of your status as His own child. Held securely in His embrace we become people who love, who give as we have been given.

The word from the Word is often a text used in sermons about increased giving to Church. That is certainly one application of the principle, but it is bigger than your offering.  As you meditate on these words, may God’s generosity begin to transform you into a person who richly invests in others. 

Here it is as translated in The Message: “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.

This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-11)  What a way to live.

(Video of this blog at this link)


Alabaster Box

The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbles through the tears
That made her blind
She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There’s no place here for her kind
Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last she knelt before His feet
And though she spoke no words
Ev’rything she said was heard
And she poured her love for the Master
From her box of alabaster

I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him like oil
From Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry
If I wash His feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped His love all around me
And you don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

I can’t forget
The way life used to be
I was a pris’ner
To the sin that had me bound
I spent my days
Poured my life without measure
Into a little treasure box
I thought I found
Until the day when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonder of His touch
So now I’m giving back to Him
All the praise He’s worthy of
I’ve been forgiven and that’s why
I love Him so much

I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him like oil
From Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry
If I wash His feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair
You weren’t there when my Jesus found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped His loving arms around me
And you don’t know the cost of the oil
Oh you don’t know the cost of my praise
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

Janice Lyn Sjostrand

© 2004 Little Pooky’s Music (Admin. by Pure Psalms Music, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

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