Begrudging Generosity

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.   2 Corinthians 8:7

I have a natural reluctance when I’m asked to give. Whether of time, talent, or money, my first reaction is “why I can’t” rather than “why I can.”

So, God presents opportunities for me to give. He loves a cheerful giver and God wants me to be more lovable.

Several years ago, while in General Santos City in the Philippines, three high school senior Filipino girls approached me with a simple request, “Would you pay for our college education?”

Yes, all three college educations! My resistance kicked in as I told myself, “I can’t pay for the college education of all the students in the Philippines.”

I’m not sure why my resistance focused on all the kids in the Philippines. I have found myself saying things like “my little bit of money won’t make a difference with the building fund” or “why go on mission trips when so many have needs in America?”

As I begrudged the request from the Filipino girls, God spoke to me and said, “I didn’t ask you to pay for the college education of all Filipinos, just these three.” Note that I said “God asked me” as it was a very clear voice indicating that God was asking me through their request.

I said “yes” more out of fear of disobedience than being cheerful. Classic begrudging!

The total amount wasn’t much. Each girl’s tuition was $500 a year or $1500 a year for the trio, making a total cost of $6,000. And others did help too. But after summing the total, my begrudging thinking crept back, “With this money, I could buy a new bicycle.”

Okay, stop right there… I know you are thinking, “Wow, that much for a bike!” And what would you have considered purchasing if asked?

I didn’t buy the bike, but I did commit (along with others) to pay for the college educations.

The three girls were short, each 4 foot 11 inches. I began calling them the “4-11’s” when discussing their education. Four years later, while I was at my sister’s mission in General Santos, someone came and told me that a group of girls wanted to see me.

I went outside to see the “4-11’s.” They thanked me, telling me that they had jobs as teachers and that after each year of teaching they would thank God for another year of serving Him and then thank God for me.

Money well invested!

I still get asked for money. Sometimes I respond with a “yes” and at other times with a “no.” I listen to God with the requests, checking to make sure that the “begrudging” isn’t the reason for saying no.

After the Filipino girls’ request, God kept His promise by not asking me to pay for all the college educations in the Philippines. And I continue to guard my tendency to over-generalize a request allowing a refusal.

How about you? Do you say things like, “I have so many bills” or “I will tithe when my finances get in order” or “Why give to the poor when I struggle with a car payment?” Are your issues larger like homes, cars, boats, vacations, and motorcycles?

All can fuel the begrudging.

God loves a cheerful giver. Generosity changes the begrudging. We become more lovable.

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