True Generosity?

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

It was a late spring morning a few years ago when I read this verse during my quiet time for the first time. I remember thinking, “Wow! That is something. ‘..all things at all times, having all that [I] need, [I] will abound in every good work!?’ Really, Lord? This seems quite idealistic, if you ask me. You don’t know how tired I am sometimes. Or how needy others can be. Hm. I’ll have to think about this one a bit more.”

I moved on from my quiet time to glance at my schedule for the day. It was full to the brim. At the time, I was employed in full-time Christian ministry to college students, so my day was full of meetings with our staff, appointments with college women for discipleship or counseling or prayer walks or you never know… You get it: lots of being with people, talking with people, helping people, teaching people. Fulfilling, but exhausting work.

That night, I arrived home late – stomach rumbling, feeling sweaty and achy, back and calves sore from carrying too many heavy books up and down too many hills, itching to get out of my heels and into some sweats. As I pulled into our driveway, I sighed. There, standing across the street from his house, in my driveway was our neighbor, a very friendly and fun-loving guy: flying a kite over his house – in our very compact, residential suburbia. ‘Is it even legal to fly kites here?’ I wondered. He scooted over so that I could drive into my driveway, smiling and waving enthusiastically. My stomach growled louder. I pulled in and parked. I closed my eyes and pressed my forehead into the steering wheel. ‘Not today,’ I thought. ‘Not now. So…tired…’ And then, drifting through my heart, unabashedly, ‘And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. OK, Lord. Here I go.’

I stepped out of the car.

I think he’d had the entire day off. And spoken to not-a-soul. He was extremely in the mood to chat.

‘Lord, at all times? In every good work?’

In an instant, I felt His grace wash over me. I’m certain that I missed a few sentences of my neighbor’s welcome, lost in the stupor of His strength and power instantly replenishing the depleted reserves. I tuned back in to my neighbor’s friendly banter. And I actually smiled, suddenly glad to see him standing in my driveway, flying a kite. ‘At all times, Lord…’ I prayed silently.

I often feel so busy, so worn out, so involved, so absorbed with my job, my kids, my marriage, my family, my home, my church, my life. I’m sure you do too. We all give so much to so many people in so many ways. It seems so counter-intuitive to add one more outlet, one more need to my whirlwind. But, so often, that one more need shows me what I’m really made of. It reminds me that I must not depend on my own strength, but His. It reveals whether or not I really meant it when I told Him that my life was His. It refreshes my perspective, turning it heavenward and riveting it on eternal things. It impresses on me that because I met Jesus, I really have been blessed abundantly. And therefore, apparently, I have so much to give.

Oh God, You have blessed me so abundantly! I have clothes to wear, a place to live, and I never even think to worry about where my next meal is coming from. Sometimes it is difficult for me to believe You and Your idealism – really, Lord, in all things at all times? But I say now, today, this week, in each moment, I will trust You: that I will continue to have all that I need, and that by Your strength and Your power, I will abound in every good work that You have prepared in advance for me to do. Amen.

*This story was written originally for my church’s monthly newsletter, Here@First, for which I write periodically. I don’t know how many people actually read it there, but I thought a wider readership might enjoy it. So I’m just re-sharing with you.


One response to “True Generosity?”

  1. This encourages me. I have my first teaching job, and find myself feeling burnt out more often than not. In those moments I usually choose time to unwind reading, or vegging out rather than loving others. Good to remember if God gives me something to do, he will also provide what I need in order to get it done. Miss you.