He Will Reward Them
God deeply cares for everyone, and He desires for His children to care for everyone as well. Proverbs 19:17 tells us: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” To show kindness towards the poor is an act of obedience and love for God. In this proverb, King Solomon is sharing distinctions in the life of the obedient—caring for what God cares for, loving who God loves, and giving what God has already blessed them with.
When I think about lending or giving, there are two aspects that come to mind—the inward and the outward. One’s inward attitude must reflect a heart of compassion or kindness. Giving without a heart of compassion is obligation, not obedience. A person’s outward action is the physical act of giving according to the individual’s needs and one’s own ability. We cannot give what we do not have, and we should give what is essential.
God is calling us, as His children, to be kind and generous to the poor through faithful obedience in what we have to offer, and He will reward us for that. I know that, personally, I have found myself hesitant to be generous in giving to the poor. I experience uncertainty and fear of the unknown. Will I have enough? Will what I give be used wisely? Scripture reminds us to not lose heart in our giving because we know that God says He will reward those who are kind to the poor.
Beyond giving financially, what are some other ways we can be generous towards the poor?
- Look for local, practical opportunities. Search online for possible options and get plugged into serving the needy near you.
- Look through your closet and donate clothing items that are still in good shape to a local shelter.
- When the opportunity presents itself, take time to have a conversation. God created us as communal beings. We all experience a yearning for connection.
- Be teachable and open to learning about the needy and how to help. Then, inform others around you about the opportunities to help.
Hope is ignited when we are generous to the poor by caring and being kind. Together, let’s do the Kingdom work of helping others feel seen, cared for, and connected with a sense of belonging.
Enlarging Our Harvest
My husband, Dan, and I have worked in a variety of ministries over the past 35 years and have seen God’s provision even when money was tight. We have always tried to operate from a spirit of generosity with our time, talents, and treasures.
Dan and I have experienced God’s blessing as we seek to honor Him with all we have. There have been times when I had no idea how we would make ends meet—we always make sure that our tithe is the first bill we pay, and we have seen God always provide above what I could ask or imagine.
We don’t give because we expect something in return. Instead, we operate from the conviction that God can’t pour out His blessings if we have a clenched fist, holding tightly to our possessions. A spirit of generosity is an attitude to be cultivated as we humbly receive from God what we need each day.
Are you operating from a place of open-handedness, or are you clutching tightly to what you have? Do you freely give of your time, money, talents, and spiritual gifts, or do you simply receive from others without offering any help? Or, even worse, is your ‘help” offered in the form of criticism? Do you choose to withhold your tithe, or do you cheerfully give even when you have other expenses to pay? Do you expect God to bless you without offering anything to Him or others?
These are sobering questions. We can all easily fall into the “taking” category at some point or another, but we are called to embrace the opportunity to reflect the generous, giving nature of God. 2 Corinthians 9:10 tells us, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”
We cannot out give God. We should not expect God to bless us and increase our harvest and ministry when we have a stingy attitude towards all He has given us. God can provide above and beyond what we need in all things. Open your heart. Open your hands. Pour out blessings upon others, and watch God take what you give and increase it for His glory. Don’t be stingy with your life! Be extravagant in your giving, and watch God bless and enlarge your harvest.
Our Generous God
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” –James 1:17
Earlier this fall, I stood at the bedside of a hospital crib where my grandson lay motionless. He and his twin brother had fallen seriously ill with RSV and pneumonia. Decades of life and ministry had not prepared me for the sight of seeing my grandsons suffer, needing support for breathing. It left an imprint on my heart. During those long days of waiting and banging on the doors of heaven to heal my grandsons, I rehearsed what I knew to be true about my Heavenly Father. Would I trust my generous God with whatever the outcome might be?
At first glance, when reading James 1:17 we might not see how this verse directs us towards the generosity of God. But upon slowing down and really reading it thoroughly, we find the words“every”; “good”; “gift”; and “no change or variation.” Each word alone could give us the idea of generosity, which defined in the Oxford dictionary means, “Showing readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected.” The Greek meaning for every means “all, every, of every kind” and is found 1,078 times in the Bible. With every used that many times throughout the Bible, I would say that defines generosity.
This verse also points us to our good and perfect gift from God, who gave the ultimate gift, His Son, Jesus Christ. A good, free, and perfect gift from Him that provides a way for the dead to be rescued from the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13). God does not change like the light that changes from day to night or the shifting shadow that moves when we move. Malachi 3:6 reminds us: “For I, the Lord, do not change . . .” showing us His generous nature. What a comfort and firm foundation for us as we face the future, the unknown, the trial we may be facing today or when standing at the bedside of a grandchild.
We can rest in our generous God whose character and eternal purposes do not change, providing us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). My grandsons are now home and back to keeping their parents on their toes. We can trust God for all and any outcomes, and sometimes God will answer in a way we do not expect, but we can trust His intentions for us are always good (Rom. 8:28). He is our generous God.
You Can Be Generous
We live in a world full of scarcities that rivals our call to generosity. During my life, I have walked through scarcities of food, love, patience, grace, time, and finances. At various times, I horded these precious items, only able to give out begrudging teaspoonfuls. The anxiety of having too little was overwhelming as my hands held tightly onto the little scraps of “enough” that I had mustered together. I was unable to give without losing the security that I desired.
Being a single mom, I realized long ago that I never had enough patience, time, or money left over for others. My house was never clean enough; my much-desired reality of laundry completion was never accomplished; I had neither time nor resources to spare.
But, secretly, in the deepest closet of my heart, I enjoyed this pursuit of being superwoman. I wanted to have a spotless house, perfect children, time to serve others, and time for myself. But I wanted it all on my own terms, without changing myself or giving anything. I simply could not be generous. I needed to change my mindset, to clean out the self-sufficiency in this closet of my heart for generosity to move in. But how?
My answer began here: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:19-21). I had to admit that I was stuck in a cycle of giving based on what was left over, then internally sweating about what was now gone. How could I taste the fullness of God’s generosity if I was unable to test my own?
When we put our faith in God and His eternal treasures, a life of generosity can begin. The treasures of time, money, kindness, and patience do us no good stored up. But when received from God for His use through us, these resources can transform lives in the name of Jesus. God can be revealed to the broken world around us through our giving.
Is God enough? Will He be enough? Can I be generous without looking back?
Scripture promises, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
God will not disappoint; He is faithful to His promises. Trusting Him, I have repeatedly seen His riches and radical generosity. God wants to amaze us with His goodness.
How, then, can we unburden ourselves to be generous?
Take inventory of the immeasurable. Fix your eyes upward to see the abundance of God’s giving and the wealth that He offers—spiritual health, relational healing, emotional wholeness. He will overflow your accounts with unlimited blessings, friendships, security, grace, love, and patience.
Say these words today: “God, I will trust You. All I have was given by You. What I have is Yours to give.”