When I read through scripture it’s pretty clear that God wants to use me as a conduit of His many blessings. Often, my obedience to that divine assignment is a little sketchy. I have a tendency to want to hold onto God’s blessing and not share it.
Of course, if God did that to me I’d be furious. I want God to be at my beck and call and blessing me at His every remembrance of me. I don’t want Him to hold back.
Bud I do hold back. And when I refuse to give usually one of these three things is at work: Selfishness, Pride, and a marvelous little something called Sloth.
Selfishness compels me to hoard my time, talent, and treasure. Pride always attempts to make me famous...not God. And sloth keeps me from doing anything much at all and keeps me consumed with only thinking about doing God’s will.
A few years ago I read a story that, frankly, got to my heart. It speaks to the ‘heart of generosity’. My hope is that in sharing it you might be be more willing to go to war against the sins that so easily entangles and get on with being all God is calling you to be. We desperately need generous people in today's world. The needs are great.
The author is someone by the name of Edy Ogen. Enjoy.
In 1946, a month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially. When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene, my sister, got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much.
We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we ended up earning $70 for the sacrificial offering. We never had so much money before. We could hardly wait to get to church! When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20. As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.
Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor. That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed--I didn't even want to go back to church.
All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?" We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. My sister put it in the offering. When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church.”Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100." We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so? From that day on I've never been poor again.