It’s easy to consider generosity as a calling delegated to the rich (or at least, those richer than us). Yet if we consider the goodness and character of God, surely this cannot be the case. Scripture reveals that great joy and eternal treasures are stored up for those who give generously. Jesus explicitly says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. If we believe this to be true, we cannot assume that such blessing is only reserved for the wealthy, because we know that God shows no partiality. It must follow then, that generosity is not just a luxury of the rich, but a privilege for the poor. It does not stem from leftover, but often paradoxically flows from lack.
All throughout Scripture, God displays this model. When He called the Israelites to generosity, He was speaking to those that lacked (Deut. 14:22-29). Think of it. The Israelites had endured generations of slavery, were displaced for decades waiting for the Promised Land, and yet God called them to give! This was not to lay a heavy burden, but because in love God includes those who lack.
In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus took note of the poor widow who gave all she had to live on, just two copper coins. It was a seemingly worthless gift compared to the lavish offerings of those around her. Yet she was heralded by Jesus for her great generosity. Rather than clinging to her final coins, she gave in faith knowing that God includes those who lack.
Amidst severe affliction and extreme poverty, the Macedonian church was so cheerfully eager that they actually begged Paul for the favor of giving (2 Cor. 8:1-5). They broke every sensible rule of stewardship and gave beyond what they could afford. This generosity was the overflow of their joy, because they understood that God includes those who lack.
Because God so desires to include those that lack, He encourages us with the promise of His provision (Luke 12:22-34). Right before calling His disciples to eternally-minded generosity, Jesus, knowing our propensity to worry, says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:22-24)
Rejoice in this comfort! The God who feeds the ravens will not forget His children. This assurance enables us to pursue lives of generosity even amidst seasons of adversity. When we give amidst adversity, we testify that our treasure and trust is Christ. When we give amidst adversity, we follow the example of the saints who’ve gone before us proclaiming God as our true Provider and investing in Heaven as our true Home.
So if you feel broke and empty-handed, take heart and give! Remember that the King who noticed a widows two coins weighs generosity by sacrifice not sum. When you give from your lack, you will be abundantly filled with His supply.