Living Generously, Part V

Living generously isn’t about the amount of money. It’s simply about being there to help others when they need help. Scripture reminds us that it is the heart attitude that counts. And this is the point made to two people right before they are judged by God. God wasn’t judging them on the amount they gave, but rather on the fact that they tried to pretend they gave it all when they didn’t. They broke the trust with fellow believers suffering with them.

  But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.

Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”

As soon as Ananias heard these words, he fell to the floor and died. Everyone who heard about it was terrified. Then some young men got up, wrapped him in a sheet, and took him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?”

“Yes,” she replied, “that was the price.”

And Peter said, “How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too.”

Instantly, she fell to the floor and died. When the young men came in and saw that she was dead, they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
                    – Acts 5:1-10, NLT

We see from Peter’s words that it wasn’t about the amount of money. That wasn’t why they were in trouble. Rather, it was because they chose to lie to fellow believers. While we see the rich young ruler being commanded to give it all up, that was about a heart issue: his love for his money and his possessions. So with God it’s not proper to conclude that He wants us to give it all up. It’s also not safe to conclude that He wants us to horde it for a rainy day.  What is safe to conclude is He wants us to be obedient, to be compassionate, to be sacrificial. And sometimes that giving isn’t about money at all. Acts of service is part of living generously.

The point is to meet the need. That’s what God expects of us. If we don’t have enough but He calls us to meet it, He’ll fill in the gap. Giving isn’t about pride; it’s about humility. Therefore, if we focus on amount, a human measure, we’re dead wrong. In living generously, don’t worry about the amount, no matter how large or how small. Let us simply focus on meeting the needs of those around us, depending on God to honor His promises, and living by faith. This is living generously.

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