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Living the generous life

By J. Don George

Joe sat in his car looking at a check for $63. Disconnect notices from utilities companies were waiting for him at home. His rent was due and his bank account depleted. Sixty-three dollars would not be coming next week, as his customer had concluded their relationship, regretfully.

Joe had promised 30 days earlier to continue to tithe. After he had quit his job as a division vice president for an insurance company because of the company’s unscrupulous business practices, Joe had averaged $186 per week.

Silently Joe said to God, "You are going to get $6.30 out of this check."

When Joe arrived home, his answering machine had messages from several companies inviting him to call immediately. Within 30 days, Joe was receiving $4,000 a month.

Joe Peterson, a church elder, shared this testimony on a Sunday morning at Calvary Temple (Assemblies of God) in Irving, Texas.

The Bible says, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom" (Luke 6:38). That’s the doctrine of the Lord Jesus. He didn’t say pray, and it will be given. He didn’t say believe, and it will be given. He didn’t say fast, and it will be given. He didn’t say cry, and it will be given. He said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you."

God wants you to live a generous life. "I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Living a life of giving is an important teaching in the Scriptures. The essence of God is giving. John 3:16 says, "God so loved the world that he gave." He gave His own Son, His best gift. He emptied heaven of the most priceless treasure and gave Him unconditionally. He gave Jesus, even though we did not deserve, desire or love Him. When we give of ourselves and our possessions, we become more like God.

Giving draws you closer to God. "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). Your heart follows your treasure. Your treasure could be your investments. What’s the Dow Jones today? What’s NASDAQ doing? If you put your money in the Dallas Cowboys season ticket plan, then you have an interest, an investment, in the Dallas Cowboys football team. Who are the recruits? Who will win this Sunday? If you invest your income in the work of God, your heart follows your investment.

Giving strengthens your faith. Giving is not a matter of generosity or need; it’s a matter of trust. Giving is the faith test. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse … and prove me. … See if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachi 3:10).

Joe could not afford to give $6.30 of his last $63. His faith in God – not his own understanding – caused him to give $6.30 as an eternal investment.

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously" (2 Corinthians 9:6, NIV). Your giving predetermines your miracle, your harvest.

Determine today to live a generous life.

J. Don George has served as pastor of Calvary Temple since 1972 and is an executive presbyter of the Assemblies of God.

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