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The Secret to a Generous Life (Hint, It’s Not Being Rich!)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

Right in the center of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus does something fascinating, highlighting the deeply interconnected relationship between our “haves" and our “hearts.” Our “haves” are just my way of categorizing the things we each own, hold, and steward:

We have time. We have talents. We have treasures. And we have the presence of our touch.

And, according to Jesus, the “secret” to a life of generosity is not defined by the cash in our hands, but by the condition of our hearts. It’s ‘out of the overflow of my heart,’ my mouth speaks, my feet go, and my hands give.

Here are three truths about your ‘haves’ that might surprise you:

1. You’re richer than you think.

I’ve heard many lament, “I wish I could be more generous, but I just don’t have it to give…” I’ve even heard it from my own mouth. But did you know, if you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, access to clean water, and know where your next meal is coming from, you make up the richest 1% of the planet? Put another way…if you have access to read these words right now, you’re pretty well off from a global standpoint, and have MUCH to be thankful for.

The problem is, instead of seeing our abundance, we can be prone to anguish as we fail to heed the warning of the 10th commandment: We find ourselves not yet content, but coveting what everyone else has, believing it can make us happy. Here’s the truth: the only treasure that will ever satisfy the longings of your heart can’t be bought on Amazon. He was given on a Cross…and right now, He ADORES you, offering His transforming presence freely. If you’ve tasted His love, you’re eternally overflowing from a wealth of spiritual, emotional, and even physical riches that you are presently invited to join Him in the JOY of giving away.

2. You are presently stewarding the things you value.

For all of our differences, we all have access to some resources and the same canvas of 168 hours to invest weekly. And whether we realize it or not, we're ALL continually prioritizing the things we prize:

I pursue what I value.

I invest in what inspires me.

I make space for what I believe I cannot do without.

I promise you, wherever your HEART is, every treasure you have to bring is already there.

3. God specializes in multiplying the ‘little’ in our hands into a feast for the masses. We only need to bring ‘what we have’ with pure hearts.

Remember the little boy in the story of the feeding of the 5,000? Facing a sea of people needing a literal miracle, he had the audacity to surrender what was in his hands for Jesus to use how He saw fit. We focus on the spectacle of the miracle, but do we remember that the substance came from a kid’s Lunchable? It’s time to stop lamenting all we don’t have, which only empowers a scarcity mindset…and high time to bring our 'haves' with all of our hearts!

Ready to take the next step into a life marked by generosity? Here’s 3 quick steps you can take today:

1) Evaluate what has your heart

Let God lead you through the following questions…and ‘if the shoe fits,’ kick it off. You’ve been given new shoes of the Gospel of Peace that fit far better!

Where do I invest my time? What communities and activities do I prioritize…and where do I always seem to be ‘too busy’ to commit?

What are the spaces where I serve, spending my talent…and what is it telling me?

What expenditures does my 'bank balance' say I value?

Where is it TIME to bring what is in my hands to Jesus for Him to multiply in His Kingdom?

2) Ask for gratitude to grip you

The biggest key to a life of generosity is a heart gripped with GRATITUDE. I use a daily app that sends me reminders every morning to stop and share 5 things I am grateful for. It’s AMAZING what it has done in my heart.

3. Start where you are

In 2 Cor. 8:12, Paul writes: “if the readiness is there, our gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” Stop thinking about the SIZE of your gift and focus instead on being present in the joyful SURRENDER of it. If our generosity is ever going to be eternal, it has to be multiplied in the hands of a miracle-working God. Praise God…that’s His specialty.

Our only job is to come with open hands and grateful hearts.

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Such a Wonderful reminder of the importance of giving for this time of year. Great principles to live by even past the Christmas Season.

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