Generosity Path represents a community of generous people who follow Jesus. They provide a safe space for their community to discuss the questions they have about giving. Recently, they discussed a question that we all may wrestle with.
By Cameron Doolittle, Generosity Path
Jarod from South Africa wrote, asking: “How do I get over the fear of lack and not being able to pay bills if I give a certain amount? My heart is the issue. How do I open my heart to being generous and more considerate of others than of myself?”
Even as he wrestles with his own heart, Jarod shared this story from his own life:
We started budgeting to be more deliberate in giving. God has opened my eyes to see that I have become a bit complacent in my tithing, so I started to tithe again and business has grown ever since! I asked God to provide for me to pay tithes, and that day a client paid for two months’ services ahead and it made the complete tithe with extra. So God provided for his own tithe, which was pretty insane!
Jarod’s transparency and self-awareness are great. He knows that fear keeps him from giving. He knows that his heart needs to change. Despite having seen God work miraculously, he has to convince his heart again and again. I imagine we can all relate.
Fear and faith
Fear is always the opposite of faith. When we realize that we are afraid, we need to ask what lie we are believing. In this case, the enemy is whispering to Jarod, “If you’re generous, God won’t provide for you.” We know this is a lie, so we can immediately expose it. (We’ll get to that in just a minute.)
But, once we expose it, what’s the truth God wants us to believe in place of that lie?
What’s the faith God wants to give Jarod to replace his fear? Psalm 56:3 makes this connection (and Jarod’s next step) explicit: “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” The opposite of fear is faith. The very real, actionable way to get rid of fear of lack is to ask God to give you more faith. Then act on the faith he gives you, and watch God’s faithfulness.
Let’s look at some Scripture about faith:
Hebrews 11:1 and 11:6 say:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us: For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Faith in God’s provision
In this case, Jarod’s fear is related to provision. What promises does God give us that he will provide for us and care for our needs. Here are just a couple:
And my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
–2 Corinthians 9:11
God loves to provide for his children!
Giving from love for God, not merely love for people
Jarod also wants to be more loving toward others. He asks how to consider others’ needs rather than just his own.
That’s a good impulse, but biblical generosity is anchored not just in love for people, but first in love for God. And out the overflow of our love for God, we express that love by obeying him and giving to others.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
In Philippians 2, Paul writes that we should “not look to our own interests, but also to the interests of others” (verse 4). But the reason for this looking to others’ interests is that we are united with Christ (verse 1), comforted by his love (verse 1), sharing in the Spirit (verse 1), and living with humility (verse 3). Out of this love for Christ, we look at his example (verses 5-8).
If we give because we love people, our giving will waver. Our generosity will rise and fall with our feelings toward others. When someone is ungrateful or takes advantage of us, we may end up giving less generously. But if we give in response to God’s unending faithfulness to us, and in response to his incredible sacrifice, we’re building our generosity on bedrock, on a firm foundation.
In light of this, we’d like to give you five steps you can take when you sense this lie, so you can replace your fear of giving with faith for giving:
Ask: Is God asking you to step out in faith in some specific way?
We always leave space for the Holy Spirit to challenge and admonish us to do specific things. Is there something specific he’s asking you to do – some amount to give, some specific thing to sell, some cause to support?
You don’t need to give too quickly or “under compulsion” (2 Corinthians 9:7), but do listen carefully to that still, small voice. If he’s not spoken clearly to you, then let’s look at the other four steps.
Remember: He is your Father
Instead, He’s perfectly designing for you a curriculum, a path that he wants you to follow. He values the relationship more than the result. He’s more interested in who you’re becoming than in how much you’re giving. Of course, as you grow and change, you’ll become more generous. But joyful giving begins with a right view of how our Heavenly Father feels about us.
Review: What’s his track record of faithfulness in your life?
Jarod tells one story about God’s faithful response. Jarod prayed for the chance to give more, and God provided more so that he could give.
God loves to remind us about how faithful he’s been. In Mark 8:14-21, the disciples thought that Jesus might be disappointed that they’d forgotten bread. Instead, he reminded them of his own miraculous faithfulness in the past.
Throughout the Old Testament, God reminds Israel that he is the God who brought them up out of Egypt. For example, in Psalm 81:10, he says, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” He connects his past faithfulness to his ability to fill them up in the future.
Consider: What can you give from what you have?
With a right view of God and a remembrance of his faithfulness, we are ready to give. Faith begins with a small step.
What’s the thing God has already given you – whether time, talent, or treasure? What’s already in your hand that you could give to God to begin to show him – and yourself – that He’s your real treasure?
As you give something small and see that he is faithful, your faith will grow, and he’ll prepare your heart for the next step.
Conquer: What step of faith can you take that demonstrates faith and surmounts fear?
Beyond what’s comfortable, what’s the larger thing that he’s asking you to give? What’s the thing that you’re closing your hand over?
Paul reminds the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 9:6) that those who “sow sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” He seems to be asking, “How much do you want to reap?”
If God loves you, and promises to provide for you, why not step out in faith this week, asking him what the next step is? He’s waiting eagerly to show you how miraculously good and faithful he is, and he loves to respond to us when we take steps of faith.