5/8/13 - PTC_Proverbs 11 - "Show me the…Generosity!"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.
25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
26 People curse the one who hoards grain,
but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.
Who? "A generous man" Right off the bat two things come to my mind. I think of the people in my life who are generous. Then I wonder, with conviction, am I perceived as a "generous man?" There are a handful of people in my life that stun me with generosity. They bless, not necessarily because there is a need, but they bless because they are generous. The giving they do reflects their hearts as much or more than the condition of the recipient.
What? "Prosper" This word has a bad reputation in the circles I've run in. In conservative evangelical circles, there is an avoidance of this word. It alludes to the "health, wealth, prosperity gospel" that has ruined so many. However, I think we need to embrace the words God gives and the definition that He gives them. There is no doubt that the word "Prosper" in this context is referring both the material prosperity as well as the prosperity of the soul. If you know truly Spirit-led generous people, you see this combination effect. God seems to bless with both material and internal or soul-level prosperity. The generous man prospers. This indicates that true generosity (not a false generosity that has the ulterior motive of selfish gain) results in prosperity of the giver. We know in Micah 3 that God invites us to "test" Him by tithing. To see if He won't open up the floodgates of Heaven. This principle is one that may make us uncomfortable but is nonetheless true.
We see the soul-level addressed in 25b "whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." This is beyond the material and goes to the well-being of a person. God has hard-wired us to benefit from giving. He has orchestrated relationships to thrive in an atmosphere of giving. v26 says, "People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell." People understand that life truly depends on the generosity of others. Interestingly, in v26 we see another angle to generosity, selling. At the time Solomon was writing these Proverbs there would be a great disparity between the rich and poor. The poor were dependent not necessarily on the welfare of the wealthy but the willingness for those who have to be willing to sell from their abundance. Those who hoarded were hated. This is true today. We must recognize what God has given us and where the abundance is in our lives and refuse to hoard.
Here's the problem. Very few of us want to take the step of faith to become truly generous people. Which makes no sense. We know we become a blessing to others through generosity. Why don't we do it?
Why? Generosity means trusting the invisible God over our visible resources. It means we must have an active and vibrant faith in Him. The generous trust God's resources and capabilities more than their own.
How? I was praying just yesterday, without knowing I would be in this passage today that God would raise up people in the Highpoint family to be generous regarding the mission of this church. What would it look like if Highpoint became known for our generosity. I think of helping local church plants. By helping them we could "lose people" to them. So what! "Our people" are not "our people." This is God's kingdom, not ours. God, make us generous. I love what we are doing for Innovation Church in Raleigh. I love what we're doing for single parents, I love what we are doing at Overton HS. I love that we are redeeming this 40 year old facility in a strategic location. Imagine the number of people who could be reached and discipled for the next 100 years from the launching pad of 6000 Briarcrest Ave. The only way we will grow in generosity is to remember the generosity of our Heavenly Father and the gracious gift of His only Son, Jesus and attempt to represent that kind of generosity in various ways on earth.
There are so many ways to think through this and apply it to my life. God, I think of the need for me to grow in my generosity in straight up financial giving. We have systematic and percentage giving built in as a discipline. I feel good about that but what would it look like to set a goal for additional giving above and beyond that. Could I make a 5-figure gift in the next year? That seems impossible, but I know You are able! Could I give a 6-figure gift in the next decade? Could a give a 7-figure gift at some point in my lifetime? I also think about the generosity needed from me and my family for me to travel and speak. I believe You have given me a ministry that needs to be exported beyond Highpoint and Memphis. I pray that I would not hoard those investments You have give me. I want to be able to speak places and not require an honorarium. On the daily level and reflecting on yesterday's post, help me be generous with nourishing words. There are easily 20-50 people i'll encounter today that need a nourishing word.
God, I want to be known as a generous man. I want to be able to refresh others. I want to be able to release money, time, nourishing words, prayers, love and insights from You to others. I pray that this post will haunt me. Make it haunt our church. As we move toward another capital campaign this fall i pray for a resistance-free response from the body. I pray that our church grow in generosity so much that they get excited about the next opportunity to give. I pray against any and all critical voices that attempt to classify giving to the church as something self-serving or un-holy. God cause is to grow in our faith in the One who hold everything in His hands and can cause us to prosper whenever we are generous. I pray for Your definition of prosperity as we are generous with Innovation and other church plants. I pray you convict HP partners who do not Tithe to begin by testing you with the tithe. I pray that I would look at generosity as part of my spiritual growth not just something to do when the church is in a campaign. God make it possible for me to give the 5, 6 and 7 figure gifts across my lifetime.
I need to sit down with Amanda and look at how we respond to this truth. God help us not be divided but unified around the importance of generosity. Help us realize that generosity is not irresponsibility in disguise. I still must provide for my family, yet I must also grow in generosity. God give your wisdom as we consider our steps of obedience.
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