On the Generosity Path podcast, one of the questions we ask our guests is ‘What is the most freeing thing about generosity that you wish everyone knew?’ It usually catches guests by surprise as they wonder how freedom and generosity are related. Yet, when they respond you can hear their voices fill with excitement and joy as the answers come flooding out.
Many of us have been taught that generosity is an obligation; a monthly or weekly ‘should’ of placing money in the church collection, or a great act of obedience that we mustn’t speak about. What if biblical generosity isn’t a list of commands but an invitation to freedom and joy?
I am constantly bombarded with messages of ‘bigger, better, faster, more’ and wooed into thinking if I can just buy them, they will bring happiness and security. They sound like good investments, but anxiety and fear grow within me as I prioritise them. Once I’ve spent my money on those things, I may then experience guilt as I wonder if I am supposed to be giving more away to others.
Generosity Path’s founder, Daryl Heald, talks about hearing his father-in-law say, ‘the only way to break the power of money is to give it.’ Money isn’t a neutral object. It can control us, or we can choose to break that power and say, ‘I am not going to let this simply accumulate more and more and more.’
In the first eight verses of Deuteronomy 31, Moses is encouraging the Israelites just as God has encouraged him, reminding them three times not to fear or be anxious because ‘it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.’ Why is it repeated so often in just a few verses? I wonder if it is because, like Moses and the Israelites (and perhaps you too?) I am prone to fear, I am prone to anxiety, and I do wonder if I am going to be left here alone. But God is promising his presence as we follow him.
When I believe God’s presence is with me, I can experience true freedom from the anxiety of ‘not enough’, the enslavement of consumerism, and from isolation. This means my heart won’t be locked up in a bank or consumed with anxiety about saving for the future. My heart won’t be isolated or overwhelmed. My heart will not only will be with those to whom I give, but it will also be freer to connect with the people around me. Rather than being hemmed in by fear, my heart is released to experience a joy beyond myself and to join in with the community of believers who are rejoicing and praising God for his Great Provision.
Take a moment to acknowledge any fears or worries you have around money or giving. Ask God to show you something fun that could happen from living generously and note any sort of freedom you begin to feel.