No act of generosity is ever a waste
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 NLT
I have had so many generous people throughout my life who have been more than gracious by helping me and my family with a variety of blessings. Some of my greatest ministry and leadership mentors have been examples of generosity in ways continuing to impact how I serve and lead. With examples in my personal life, I cannot help to work hard at being a generous person myself.
One experience of generosity I have always held dear happened on a Sunday evening in February in 1998. While I was a college preparing for ministry, I had the incredible opportunity to serve on a church staff. The only challenge was in the commute. I would drive my 1978 Chevy ¾ ton truck an hour round trip three to four times a week. A lot of time, my weekly salary mostly covered my gas expenses.
At this church was a retired pastor and his wife. Reverend and Sister J.C Andrews had given their lives to serving the Lord and the church in a generation where most pastors did not own a home and my lived at the poverty level. The Andrews were well in their 80’s and had been faithful members of this local church for many years. They always dressed impeccable and Reverend Andrews always wore a suit and bow tie.
This Sunday evening service in February of 1998 was a great time. We had sung many songs, heard many testimonies, and the Pastor had delivered a wonderful message. As the service started to come to an end, I began to realize my window of opportunity was closed. The college was 30 minutes away, and the cafeteria closed dinner service in 30 minutes. I had a five-dollar bill in my wallet saved to put enough gas in my truck to get back to the dorm for the evening. I would not be getting dinner that evening, but I was sure I still had some crackers in my room I could eat.
As we were all saying our goodbyes and I prepared to head back to school, Sister Andrews stopped me. She was kind and gracious in her words of encouragement and affirmation. She told me how she prayed for me as I was preparing to be a pastor. She told me how wonderful a life she and her husband experienced in the ministry but expressed her knowledge of tight finances. It was then she shook my hand and put in my palm a twenty-dollar bill and told me she loved me.
With this generosity, not only would I have some funds to get some dinner, I would be able to get close to filling up my vehicle for the coming week. A gift of this amount may not seem like much, especially with today’s prices, but for Sister Andrews, it was generosity on a grand scale. Her gift to me that evening transformed the way I have seen generosity from then forward.
What Sister Andrews understood was the true heart of the Proverb above. Those who are generous are not so to benefit themselves, but in looking out for others, they are blessed beyond measure. She also understood generosity is defined and expressed fully in the generosity of God as He gave Jesus to be the Savior of the world. Friends, the generosity of God is immeasurable and unending, while it also calls us to a generosity of life for the benefit of others.
As we are in the last three months of 2020, I would like to encourage all of us to be more interested in generosity than we are in ourselves.
Because of God’s love expressed to us in the Cross, no act of generosity is ever a waste!
That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.
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