If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and He will repay you!” Proverbs 19:17
It was part generosity and part tradition. When I was growing up, Sunday meant going to church. My Momma would always make sure I had taken a bath, combed my hair, brushed my teeth (I think), had clean clothes, and had an offering. There was something about going to church and taking an offering. It almost seemed like either God would be mad if I didn’t or the people at church would think we were poor or something…which we might have been.
Now the offering wasn’t a whole lot, but it was more than the widow lady in the Bible gave. Her offering was less than a penny, but it was really everything she had. Momma gave me a quarter most times but sometimes it was a dime and on rare occasions it was a dollar. Trust me, that was a rarity. Anyway, I finally figured out that it wasn’t the amount that mattered anyway. What mattered was that Momma thought it was important and it mattered that I didn’t pocket the quarter. Jesus said something about it was more blessed to give than to receive and I’m sure Momma knew that. So anyway, I gave the quarter.
I read a story the other day about a little girl who went to church just like me. Her Momma gave her a dime and a nickel. The little girl asked, “Which one am I supposed to give?” and her Momma told her she could decide. Well, when she came home from church, her Momma asked her which one she gave, and she said she had given the nickel. When asked why she gave the nickel instead of the dime she said, “Well, the preacher said that God loves people who give cheerfully, and I was a lot happier when I gave the nickel and kept the dime.” Smile.
I know that I am still a work in progress. God started the project way back in 1975 and He’s still working today. I’ve heard it said that His work isn’t done until He takes us home to live with Him. I believe that is true. One of the areas that He is working on with me is generosity. They say that if you want to carve a duck from a block of wood you just cut off everything that doesn’t look like a duck. Well, that is what God does with us except He’s not making ducks. He is making Jesus followers. And one thing I know for sure is that Jesus was always generous. He was so generous He gave His life away on a wooden cross to pay for everyone’s sin. Now that is generosity. Now that is love.
My point isn’t that you ought to give to the church. The point is we should all learn to be generous to others. A generous life is a happy life, and a generous heart is a happy heart. In the Old Testament part of the Bible in the Book of Proverbs it says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and He will repay you!” You know, I believe that is true. I’m also sure that the repayment may not be dollars and cents but rather a deep sense of peace and joy in our lives—and that is better—that is priceless. Remember this—God is more than willing to help you be like Jesus, but it all starts when we believe what He did and what He said. He died and came back to life and promised to forgive anyone who asked. Need a little help with that? Well, don’t worry, He’s got that too.