The topic caught my eye - How do we give generously during tough economic times?
My hubbie and I have been fortunate to still have our jobs and able to make our house payment and pay our bills. But like the rest of the country, we fill the pinch. If you're not in dire economic straits at the moment, you want to do everything in your power to not be by tomorrow. I'm with you.
When money gets tight, I find the first thing to go in someone’s budget is often their giving. I believe this is a mistake. I’m reminded of Proverbs 3:9,“Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything your land produces.”
In the Old Testament, farmers were commanded to give from the first fruits of their crops. This is important because as a farmer, you are never sure how the whole season’s crop is going to come in. When you give from the first crop not knowing what the rest of the season’s crop will bring, you are really taking a leap of faith and increasing your dependence on God.
That makes me think of our community garden and how this could apply. I never really thought about how FIRST is so important. Yes, I write my tithe check to our church the day I get paid, but it's not visible. I think I'll create a First Fruits Bucket for our group for harvesting days this summer and help us all apply this concept. I always enjoy a good visual!
If I'm continuing to look for opportunities to give and feeling the pinch, then according to Steve,
My generosity causes me to rely on God more than I normally would, which is actually a good thing. It’s important to remember that while financial generosity is important, it’s not our only resource to giving generously. We can be generous with:
1. Our compassion. When we know a friend or neighbor is hurting, we can offer supporting ears to listen, help with chores, or send a comforting note.
2. Our hospitality. Almost daily, we learn of those who need food and shelter that we could easily provide. Have others over for dinner. It’s a blessing to them and you will enjoy spending time with others.
3. Our stuff. Now is a great time to go through your stuff to see what can be shared with others.
4. Our faith. This current crisis may represent the greatest opportunity we have ever had to share our faith with others.
I am reminded of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in Palestine. The Sea of Galilee is fresh and fruitful. However the Dead Sea cannot sustain life. It is bitter and barren.
Why the difference? They are alike in almost every way but one. The Sea of Galilee both gives and takes. The Dead Sea, on the other hand, has no outlet, so it only takes in.
We have a choice, we can either be like the Sea of Galilee, which has a continual flow of give and take, and can support other lives. Or, we can be like the Dead Sea and continue to harbor what we have, but never sustain others.