By faith: Two words that should lead our generous giving

Hebrews 11 chronicles story after story of individuals who acted in faith first, believing in God’s promises of what came next. For many, the “next” materialized long after the person left this earth. For example, Abraham made his home in the promised land and did not receive the things promised. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. (v. 12). These individuals put their lives, their families, and their homes in the hands of God not knowing what lies ahead. 

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. (v. 7)

By faith Abraham … obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (v. 8)

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born. (v. 23)

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. (v. 29)

What would it look like for us to step out in this same way with faith-filled generosity? A generosity so powerful that it brings unity and purpose to our families and freedom to our hearts

The unpopular life of faith-led generosity

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Faith and generosity go hand in hand. As Christians, we know that faithfulness today produces a rich harvest in the future. Our heavenly Father always keeps His promises, of His presence and His provision. When we are giving in faith – of all we are and all we have  – we are driven by God’s promises and not by fear of the unknown. 

That can be a hard pill to swallow in our Western on-demand society, where we work hard today to have the things we want today. We can see, touch, smell, and taste the fruits of our labor with the click of an app on our phone. Not only that, but our culture tends to love “nest eggs”, saving far more money than we are giving away. It’s easy to be more concerned with investing in our life here on earth than we are in the kingdom of heaven. 

Faith-led generosity goes against that grain. It means sharing all that God has entrusted us with, all the while resting in the assurance of hope that He will turn it into something beautiful even if we can’t imagine (or aren’t around to see) the outcome. God-pleasing giving means living with a mindset of abundance over scarcity, trusting that God provides all that we need even when we sense His calling to give more than we want. 

Generous giving brings joy-filled promises

For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7). What a comforting and reassuring thought to those who faithfully labor with the uncertainty of the future. In Fields of Gold, author Andy Stanley shares that when it came to generosity his problem wasn’t greed, it was fear. He was slowly turning into a fearful giver, not a faith-filled giver. Andy says that as stewards of God’s resources, we have a choice. We can sow the seed or we can lock it away out of fear. And when we give God what is rightfully His, we acknowledge His power and greatness, opening ourselves up to limitless joy and peace that comes from trusting Him.

Generously giving away the resources God has given you is a form of worship. You are saying: “Thank you God for this salary / block of time / talent (however big or small it may be). And in gratitude towards you I want to give it back to you and build your kingdom.” Our mindset matters, and this mindset postures a lifestyle of the generous steward, not the fearful owner. 

Stretching our faith for ark-sized giving

Part of being faithful to God is the slow and steady building of the muscle of giving, the muscle of service, the muscle of loving. Most often, God gives us simple tasks that He’s adding up for a greater good. He had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:40). I imagine there were many tedious days for Noah as he built the ark board by board. God asks us to do the thing in front of us consistently, to steadily give of our time, talents, and treasures to “the least of these.”

Other times, God asks us for ark-sized generous giving – to build a school or hospital, gift land, sell a business, or set a financial finish line. These gifts sometimes require stretching: giving in a way that may impact our lifestyle  while increasing our eternal impact . God may give us an opportunity to give more than we’ve ever given before (or ever thought possible!). We must approach this scenario of giving by faith with wisdom. 

As we are faced with these moments of giving, what does it look like to say, “I trust God is working in the midst of this!” instead of asking, “If I give now, will God provide for me later?” This change in thinking is what Hebrews 11 is all about – faith in God’s trustworthiness that He will fulfill His promises today and far into the future.