I was stingy. I was selfish. I was fearful. And I was broke. Money? It washed through my household like water through a sieve. Bills? Overdue or overwhelming. Budget? Never considered or created. Bounty? Too elusive to even imagine.
Financially and spiritually, that is, I was a mess. But I didn’t know the secret of generosity: to get more, one must give. Even when it comes to money, the truly generous give all the more.
Charles Spurgeon, the great 19th-century Baptist preacher, explained this beautiful irony in his unique way: flowers in bloom give their fragrance—and “rivers run into the sea” () . . . generously.
Spurgeon went on: “The sea feeds the clouds, the clouds empty out their treasures, the earth gives back the rain in fertility, and so it is an endless chain of giving generosity.”
Then there was me. Worried about finances and desperate for more, I felt defeated and dismayed—working and serving hard, but always coming up short, financially and in other areas.
Then God painted a picture, showing me what real generosity looks like—changing my attitude about money and much more.
Giving Like God
On a cold spring night at my busy Denver church, a benefit for a big nonprofit had just concluded. The packed audience was asked to leave donations in offering plates as they left the sanctuary.1