"In the measure you give, you shall receive and more besides." Mark 4:24
Sometimes we give a kid some food, chocolate, popcorn, or french fries, and when we put out our hand to get some, the kid looks at us as if to say, "This is mine!" What that child fails to realize in his short sightedness, is that we who gave the food have the power to take it away, or we can give him a roomful, we can buy our own, and we don't actually need his food. Are we like that with God? He gave us everything we have. He has the power to take it away or bless us with more. He asks us to be generous with what we have even if He doesn't actually need it. It's not only money. God asks us to be generous with our time, energy, gifts and talents, with our words of encouragement and praise, and all the resources we have at our disposal.
Generosity is love in action. And just as I have to constantly practice loving, I have to constantly practice giving. At least with giving, I can see if I am getting better at it. It is measurable. And it seems to be a way to measure loving as well even if I can be generous without loving. But I certainly can't love without giving! I cannot aspire to be like Jesus without giving! In the Bible, the words pray, believe and love are mentioned about 1,350 times all together, but give is mentioned 2,152 times! What does that say about the importance of being generous!
If we are generous, we honor God (2 Cor. 9:13), it makes us more and more like Jesus (Luke 11:41), it shows God that we trust Him (Mal. 3:10), it reveals our heart (Luke 16:11), and is a cure for selfishness and materialism (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
What does God promise if we have a heart for giving? Blessings (Prov. 22:9, Dt. 15:10, 2 Cor. 9:7-8), happiness (Acts 20:35), influence (Psalm 112:9), prosperity (Prov. 11:25, 2 Cor. 9:11a), protection (Psalm 112:5-6), and the reward that surpasses them all- treasures in heaven (Luke 16:9, 1 Timothy 6:18-19)! Whew! That's all and more I want for myself!!!
Indeed, should we not train and discipline ourselves to be generous in the same way we study for other things? Lord, may I remember all these promises You have reserved for all whose hearts are loving and giving! May I look for opportunities to open my hand and be generous, and be a faithful steward of all You have given me!