Live Generously (Because our Kids are Watching How We Live)

2 Corinthians 9

He said he learned generosity from his mom.

I read an article this week that said the founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukaya, watched his mother give to others.  Now he in turn will give, donating at least $700 million to Kurdish refugees and refugees around the world fleeing ISIS. This is what he said:

“Today, I dedicate my signing of the Giving Pledge to my mother and I am publicly committing the majority of my personal wealth—along with everything else I can do—to help refugees and help bring an end to this humanitarian crisis.”

I’ve watched the videos this week and seen the pictures of families crammed into every available space onto boats desperate to escape civil wars and persecution.

And I’ve cried over the children.

Maybe I can’t give $700 million, I think, but surely I can give something!

It would be easy to read an article like this and shrug it off, thinking, “well, if he gives so much, surely my small gift won’t matter.”

But that’s not it at all.

That’s missing the challenge to give as God compels us, give in obedience, give every little bit we can, give because maybe we are setting the example for our kids who will one day learn to give, as well.

I am reminded to Live Generously, not hoard and protect my own resources with stinginess and self-preservation.

This in turn reminds me that living a generous life is about so much more than money anyway.

Today, the librarian chats with me as she checks out my books.  She says I remind her of her niece…the way I look, my facial expressions, and how patient I am with my kids.

Oh, she was generous, so generous with her encouragement as I chase my two-year-old away from the automatic door openers and back to the checkout desk.

I think about the time this very same librarian watched as my kids (who are old enough to know better!!!!!) started playing with the poles that mark the check-out line and they absolutely would not leave them alone and I about shot a hole through the floor when I looked at them with my laser eyes.

Still, today, she chooses to live generously, to slip in the sweetest word of praise just when my Mom-heart needs it.

How many times have I been the one feeling defeated, feeling worn, feeling overlooked or undervalued, and someone slips me that word of courage?  You are doing a great job.  I see you.  Well done.

And this week I have struggled, oh I have struggled, in anger about someone’s hurtful words toward my kids.

I pray in the night and I tell God all my woes.

I hear it back, just the whispered reminder:

Extend generous grace.

This is what it means to live generously: To pour out to others without holding back, fully aware of how God has poured Himself out for you.

Generous with our money.

Generous with our talents.

Generous with our time and our attention.

Generous with encouragement.

Generous with grace.

Generous with forgiveness.

Generous with patience.

I consider Paul on those days when I want to stop answering the phone, stop reading emails, stop answering to the name, “Mom,” stop being responsible and doing things like making dinner and washing laundry.

Paul said,

I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…. (2 Corinthians 12:15a ESV)

and

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all (Philippians 2:17 ESV).

and

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come (2 Timothy 4:6 ESV).

Paul chose to be spent, to be totally poured out for the sake of the church.

Oswald Chambers writes,

Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted–not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister?

Some days not so much.

And, while I understand the health of caring enough about ourselves as women and as moms so that we are healthy enough to care for others, I recognize this:

The calling to a generous life is a calling to pour out, to empty yourself in service, to love sacrificially and selflessly, not for our own purposes and not just for the benefit of those we love–but as an offering to the Lord.

I myself become the offering, poured out at the feet of Jesus, pleasing and acceptable to Him when I live with generosity and He, in turn, enriches me so that I can be generous on every occasion (2 Corinthians 9:11).

“No one has ever become poor by giving” ~Anne Frank

Please visit Samaritan’s Purse to see how they are serving refugees and how you can support that effort.

Please visit Ann Voskamp’s page to find 5 Ways to Stand Up, Be the Church in the World’s Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II, including organizations to support and ways to give.  She also gives you a list of items they desperately need and where to send them.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

 

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