I’ve noticed giving people are joyful people. That makes sense since the Scripture says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NIV). Ironically some of the most joyful giving comes out of lack and sacrifice.
My husband and I have spent our married life in vocational Christian work where we’re responsible to raise the funds for our salary and ministry expenses. But alas, while we both enjoy the ministry, neither of us like fund raising. In spite of being blessed with fruitful ministries, too often we limped by on short paychecks.
During our stint in Southern California, housing costs there were the highest in the nation at the time we bought our first home. Add to this sky-high interest rates and you understand why the monthly mortgage on our 60-year-old arts and crafts bungalow drained us dry.
My husband invited Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand to speak at our youth conference during this tight time. His testimony of horrific persecution and the grace God granted him in prison stirred my heart. I wanted to help his ministry to the persecuted church in a significant way. But what could I do?
I remembered the money I was saving for a new sewing machine to replace my finicky Singer. Larry had given me money at Christmas to put toward the Swiss model I wanted. Should I use that?
Gratitude welled as I wrote out a check for the amount I’d saved. Mrs. Wurmbrand took my check and filled my arms with books her husband had written. She gave back before she even knew what I’d given her.
I left with a full heart knowing it really is more blessed to give than to receive. I didn’t have to wait until I had more to experience the gladness of lavish giving.
Sacrifice and the Joy of Giving
How do we enter into the joy of giving even when our resources are tight? The Macedonian churches serve as an example.
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (2 Cor. 8:2-5 NIV).
The Macedonians “gave themselves first of all to the Lord.” They surrendered themselves and all they had to God and looked to Him, not to their limited resources, to meet their needs.
When we know God as Provider, we give out of a grateful heart. He is our motivation and supply.When we know God as Provider, we give out of a #grateful heart. He is our motivation and supply. Click To Tweet
Jesus demonstrated this when He fed 5000 men and their families. He thanked His Father for the five small loaves and two small fish before God multiplied one boy’s lunch to feed the crowd (John 6:1-15). Every person ate all they wanted and there were 12 basketfuls of leftovers, one for each disciple.
The widow demonstrated sacrificial giving when she gave all that she had. Jesus did not measure her gift by how many coins she dropped into the collection box, but by how many she had left.
Jesus did not measure the widow's #gift by how many coins she dropped into the collection box, but by how many she had left. #generosity Click To Tweet
This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (Luke 21:1-4 NIV).
Jesus is the ultimate example of sacrificial giving.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9 NIV).
Jesus left heaven’s glory to endure Calvary’s gore “For the joy set before him” (Heb. 12:2). He did it so we could spend eternity with Him. This is the hope of Christmas.
The Blessing of Generosity
Months after I invested my sewing machine fund into God’s kingdom, my sewing teacher approached me. She had a new machine she’d bought for her daughter-in-law, who showed no interest in sewing. She offered to sell it to me at a reduced rate and let me pay in installments. It was the exact brand I wanted! God provided me the joy of giving—and the desires of my heart.
An Opportunity to Have Your Gift Doubled
Larry and I thank God for those who invest in Lighthouse Ministries. Your generosity provides biblical Christ-centered counseling to hurting families and individuals regardless of their ability to pay, as well as Bible studies and equipping for believers in the faith. If you are considering a year-end gift, this is a great opportunity.
Some special friends of the ministry have offered to match every dollar given up to $20,000 between now and the end of the year.