Monday, March 10, 2014

Good things come in threes: God loves a cheerful giver

Do you ever wonder if God is speaking directly to you, or if He’s just messing with you? Within just a few days I got copies (print or electronic) of several books about the joy of letting go. Three different authors (Stanley, Formsma, and Shinabarger), three different books (How to be Rich, I Like Giving, and More or Less) and three different approaches. But what seems clear from reading any/all these books is that most if not all of the people that I know are rich when compared too much of the population of the world.  It doesn't take a whole lot of income to push you toward the top, make you part of the 1%.

As I read these books, it was fun to see what people are doing with their excess wealth. I mean, really, how much is enough.  When do we look at the closets full of clothes and realize that we pack into our closets enough clothes to dress some small villages. We have enough food on the shelves to feed ourselves for several weeks, or that small village for several days.

Jeff Shinabarger ( More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity, David C. Cook, 2013) reminds us that in most cases we have more than enough and tells of some innovative ways that people are reaching out to their communities for help in making a difference in someone else’s life.

Andy Stanley (How To Be Rich: It’s not What You Have, It’s What You Do with What You Have, Zondervan, 2013) asks us to consider if the wealth we think we have doesn’t really possess us. Since we have been entrusted with much, we are also expected to be wise stewards.  What if we all read about the church of the 1st century, recognized their culture of generosity, and decided that the legacy we leave will be one of extravagant generosity.

And then there is Brad Formsma (I Like Giving: the Transforming Power of a Generous Life – Practical Ideas, Inspiring Stories, WaterBrook, 2014).  This book is full of stories of how to recognize a need and respond to it. Maybe it’s cash, maybe it’s a smile and a hug, but so often something that we have but don’t use or need can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. And the people that  give find that they “like” beyond anything they might have imagined.

And as if that weren't enough, I got an advance review copy of a book by Stovall Weems (The God First Life: Uncomplicate Your Life, God’s Way, Zondervan, 2014). The book will release later this month, but one thing in the book that I really like is a section on tithing.

Maybe God is just messing with me, but I think He really wants me to listen to something that He’s trying to get me to understand.

Sometimes it comes easy, sometimes I have to be on the receiving end of a baseball bat before I start to pay attention. 

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