Welcome to Part 2 of The Life Lessons Series!
In this series, we are exploring the different lessons that I’ve learned about who God is and who he wants me to be through supposedly mundane situations I experience in my day to day life. Through reading this series, my prayer is that you will understand and be more attentive to hearing and learning from the Holy Spirit in even the smallest of ways.
As this is Part 2, I’d recommend reading Part 1 first (click here!).
Lesson 2: Hold Onto Things With an Open Hand
This Life Lesson is in generosity and doing good to all the people you meet, especially believers.
Lets start with the backstory.
There is a lovely Christian girl that I met late 2017 and we became really good friends over a very short period of time. The way we met was very divinely orchestrated and I believe that one of the reasons she came into my life was for this very purpose, that I may be writing about how i’ve learned to be more generous.
One day as I walked into the student hub for an appointment, I happened to glance over to my left and I saw her sitting patiently. I was drawn to her IMMEDIATELY. I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to go and speak to her. I didn’t go immediately, I was shy. I sat thinking about what she would think of me, what i’d say to her, and why he was asking me to go in the first instance.
I sat on the idea for a little while and then I went.
I introduced myself to her and it turned out she was also a believer, this didn’t come to me as much of a surprise because she was dressed modestly and had a very gentle and humble spirit radiating off her.
We spoke and we clicked immediately. We were going through very similar phases in our walk with God and we both needed sisterhood. From that day on we started building a very good relationship. We’d have each other round for dinner, pray together, share life experiences and counsel one another, needless to say our friendship was a very timely blessing from God to me.
So what does this have to do with generosity?
A few months into our friendship she confided in me and explained that she was struggling financially and needed a large sum in order to get her out of the problem. She turned to me for help and this is where my character and heart’s posture was really challenged.
In the many years that i’ve been in education, I’ve never really been interested in working whilst studying. During the holidays when all my peers were applying for jobs, doing retail work and getting paid, I pursued other interests so I’ve never really had my “own money”. The money I did have was mostly from my parents and ad hoc jobs I did on the side. So when this request was made of me, not only did I feel that I was lacking, but I also felt a compelling need to tightly hold onto what I did have.
As I took time to decide whether or not I’d help her out, I started seriously questioning the areas in my life where I did give financially and I came to a few realisations. I found it easy to give in church, in public settings or in conferences where I was physically placing a financial amount into a tray that was being passed around, because:
- I could predetermine how much I was going to give before I even got there.
- It was an established routine that didn’t catch me by surprise, I could factor it into my weekly costs/expenditure.
- It felt good to give and I often felt affirmed of my righteousness by giving.
..but what if nobody but God and the recipient ever saw, knew or heard of my good deeds?
What about if I was challenged to give an amount that would actually threaten my comfort and I couldn’t be sure that the money will be paid back? What about if it actually didn’t feel good to give for once? Would I still give liberally and with a cheerful heart?
I pondered over these things severely and at first I couldn’t answer them with a resounding YES, but shortly I came to the conclusion that love settles it through being reminded of this bible verse:
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 ESV)
It’s not that I had much, but what I did have I had to be willing to share and not close my heart or my hand. I was also reminded of the truth that all I have is the Lords, and I am merely a steward of his possessions. It isn’t right for me to hold onto things that are meant to be given to another no matter how much it may hurt, doing right is more important than feeling good.
The purpose of this story is not to exalt or highlight my deeds, but actually to encourage you and remind you to make it a priority to meet the needs of those around you if it is in our power, especially those who are in the family of God. God sees all things we do from a pure heart, and he will reward our secret deeds openly in this life and in the next. We have to strive to love not just in words but in deeds too, and we can trust God to provide for us even if giving sometimes makes us worry that we won’t have enough for ourselves.
So over to you.. who is the Lord is pressing on your heart right now to help out?
Is there someone that you need to give your time to? Why not invite them out for a coffee or lunch and start investing in them personally. Or is there someone you know trying to raise money for a just cause and needs your helping hand? Why not support them financially and be a partaker of the work that God is trying to do through them.
Let us no longer hold back and hold tightly to what we have, but be ready and willing give liberally just as our God gave to us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)