“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
— Proverbs 11:24-25
Since 1999, I made a decision to shrink-to-grow. No, I didn’t get shorter or lose weight; I started to shrink all my New Year’s resolutions and ambitious annual goals into a One Word vision statement. The One Word exercise has become a focal point throughout the year that brings simplicity and clarity into a very complex world. God has transformed me in many ways through this exercise and has brought truth and revelation into my life. One Word shapes and molds me into the person God desires for me to become.
Last year my One Word was Beloved. I wanted to experience God’s love and express God’s love. It was a powerful year of being His beloved and becoming His beloved. For 2019, God revealed to me the word Generous, because I want to learn how to give freely what God has blessed me with: time, talent and treasure. Being generous means openhanded and bighearted. I think John Wesley says it best:
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
Generosity means irrational giving. It is allowing God to take us to the next level of blessing those around us. It is moving from a mindset of “there is never enough” to “there is enough” and then to “there is more than enough.” Being generous means having an abundance, not scarcity, mindset—giving and serving out of the overflow. God is generous to us, so why can’t we be generous back to God and others? I desire to be released from limitations I put on myself and others put on me. Generous living is filled with sacrifice, surrender, blessing and miracles. It is over-the-top, bet-the-farm living, burn-the-boats living. I want to see God transform my heart into a generous heart, not just a giving heart. Giving is what is expected, being generous is unexpected.
Last week, I went to Romania to see our ministry in action and was reminded of what a generous heart looks like. I have known Daniel since 2009, but I have never visited him in Romania even though he has been in the states several times for FCA training. He has told me about his work over the past ten years with the gypsies by doing sports camps as outreaches to the villages. It was life-changing to see first-hand the impact of his ministry as we went to the village to meet several of the families. The kids came running into the snow-covered street to jump into Daniel’s arms. They gathered around him to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Daniel was generous toward the “least of these” with his time and resources. Not just once, but for years. Daniel knows that when we are generous, God multiplies our giving.
He was openhanded and bighearted towards them. No restrictions. No limitations. Just generous in loving, giving and caring. Lives were impacted because Daniel’s heart was overflowing with generosity. Like Proverbs 11:25 says, “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Because of Daniel’s generosity, the gypsies were refreshed, he was refreshed and God was blessed! Go generous and see what God will do in 2019!
Dear Lord God, we want to live openhanded and bighearted this year. No holding back. Teach us how to live generously every day. Just like Daniel, we want to impact entire communities because of a generous heart. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.