Habits of Generosity
Generous God, I want to live from the reality that all is truly Yours and everything is from Your hand. Help me to take steps to do so.
Read Deuteronomy 15:1-18
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
God has a very different design for what an economic system should look like, but it would require forgiveness and openhandedness with possessions.
The economy of the Promised Land was to be radically different. Every seventh year, debts were to be cancelled (1-3) and bonded servants set free (12-18). There was no place under God’s rule for chronic poverty. Yes, there would be adverse circumstances that would force some to suffer poverty and borrow in order to cope, but they should not be taken advantage of; rather, they should be given a fresh chance. Their poverty should be a temporary hole in the ground, not a bottomless pit from which there is no escape. “There will always be poor people in the land” (11), but “there need be no poor people among you” (4). The world creates poverty, but the church must do something about it.
What is required is generosity. The people should remember that their wealth is not as important as their needy neighbors. They should “not be hardhearted or tightfisted” (7), refusing to lend to someone who is less fortunate. Neither should they become calculative, refusing to lend at a time near the seventh year, knowing that the loan would soon be cancelled (9). Instead of being heartless, miserly or sharp in business, one should respond to a needy person by giving generously and cheerfully (10; 2 Cor. 9:7). How can one who has received liberally from a gracious God hold a tight fist to his needy neighbor?
This same generous spirit also treats servants and employees graciously. When the bonded servant is freed, he is supplied liberally (13-15). Many rich people started out poor. They should remember their humble origins and feel empathy for those who are poor and needy. We all need to remember that all is from God. As we generously share among the church, may it be said: “There were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:34).
Take a step that will bring you closer to God’s desired economy. Sponsor a child, begin regular giving for clean water or start ongoing contributions to the poor in your midst.
Lord, You have been so generous to me. Help me to be generous to those in need by joyfully sharing with them Your resources and by treating them with dignity.