When we experience “Generosity” as both recipients and givers, we see that the “T” can stand for trust. Generously sharing our personal involvement, relationships and resources naturally flows out of trust in God, including the assurance that God will meet our needs. Actually that’s what “faith” means – not a specific set of beliefs in God, but trust in God’s love toward us.
There’s a difference between our wants and our needs. Wants can be never-ending, but our needs refer to human basics of community, water, food and shelter. It’s amazing how looking back on our past experiences can clarify how God has given us these core resources, even in our worst times. Those times have helped us see our priorities more clearly and realize our utter dependence on God.
Recalling how we trusted God in the past and God provided for our needs, we are encouraged to trust God again now for our present and future needs. Because of this trust, we can risk first giving to help meet others’ needs, knowing that our basics will be covered. Jesus lived that way. John Wesley lived that way. We can live that way, too.
Years ago, I interviewed a man who had developed a deep relationship with the people of a particular village in Bolivia. He had visited them often over the years, each time helping with various mission projects (building a school, setting up a system for clean drinking water). But out of all his experiences, what stood out for him the most was how strong their faith in God was. Despite being extremely poor in material things, they trusted God to meet their needs and joyously shared their faith. And every time their needs were met, albeit in unexpected ways. Their trust in God deepened my friend’s trust, and through him, mine, as well.
“I have learned to be content with whatever I have.
I know what it is to have little, and
I know what it is to have plenty. . . .”
Your partner in ministry,
Written 9/2013 for Foothills UMC, Rescue, CA