What do you do when what you have isn’t enough? How do you move forward when paralyzed with fear? How do you give generously out of an almost empty cupboard? What keeps you smiling when everything is falling apart? When you’re asked for an answer and you don’t even understand the question, what are you to do?
I’m asking questions that cover times in all of our lives at some point. To some, these shortages are almost forgotten memories. For others, scarcity seems to be living in every corner of their lives.
I once heard evangelist Mike Murdock say, “If what you have in your hand isn’t sufficient for your harvest – make it your seed.” There are times when that kind of seed comes from almost total emptiness. “Certainly God wouldn’t ask for the tiny bit that I have at the moment, would He?” we lament.
Giving away the ‘barely all I have left’ is one of the greatest tests of our faith. It often becomes incredibly potent seed in the garden of God. The prophet Elijah (I Kings 17) under God’s direction asked a widow woman to make him bread out of the very last of her provisions … the very bread that was to be her and her son’s last meal.
Is God hesitant to ask for this kind of sacrifice? Apparently not. Through the Apostle Paul God asks the Macedonian Christians to share with others who had need. II Corinthians 8:2 tells the result of that gift. “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” NIV
Their ability to be generous came from their extreme poverty and the joy that giving in such circumstances brought to them.
We could talk about the widow who in Mark 14 has her giving evaluated by Jesus Himself. As the rich are giving large amounts, this lady puts in a couple of small coins. They are not only tiny by comparison, but as the Scripture says “all she had to live on.”
And why isn’t God embarrassed to ask from us when we have so little? First, He’s already promised that He would meet all of our needs. And second, He knows that this information comes to us in the form of theology which often means little to us. (Although it should.) Faith comes to us by way of acting on what we’ve been told and in seeing God’s faithfulness. We learn to trust more.
So this week, by word, finances, encouragement, or kind word … if God gives you a chance to bless someone else through your sacrificial and possibly painful giving, rest assured that as He did with the widow giving her small offering … He is applauding your faith and obedience.
“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need,
his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19 The Message