Caroline Clare writes of seeing God’s principle of generosity in COVID times. Caroline is a member of Church on Mill who serves in the greeting ministry.
When the pandemic started this spring, Andy and I received some unexpected gifts. At the same time many people lost income, we literally had cash put in our account and meat in our freezer.
I felt happy, but puzzled. Why were we receiving extra when others were losing jobs and security?
I struggle with generosity—specifically, with sharing things special to me, like blueberries, or money I hope to use for a trip or a book I have anticipated for a long time.
Behind this is a scarcity mentality. If something is rare, valuable, or personally special, I am less likely to share it. For example, I struggle to share yummy desserts with Andy. If my mom or a friend sends us granola or Kind Bars, I surreptitiously dole them out so I can eat most of the treat alone, sharing just enough so Andy perceives he is getting some.
Mentally, I know this contradicts God’s principle of generosity. God actually returns blessing on someone who is generous for his sake:
Bring the full tithe into my storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need (Malachi 3:10).
Deep down, I don’t actually believe this to be true, or I would give—gladly, since it would benefit me.
I had been aware of this for awhile but wasn’t able to change my belief. However, the timing of COVID (a global crisis on my mind every day) along with our unexpected extras became the straw that broke my camel back.
I started thinking differently. During some budget meetings, Andy and I decided to make several donations outside our normal giving. I also bought smaller items like groceries to give away. I even found myself thinking differently about treats. Packing Andy’s lunch bag, I stood in front of the cupboard and thought, Why wouldn’t I want to share these rice crisps with my most special person? He will really enjoy finding these in his lunch.
What happened: As I started sharing more, we started receiving even more!
Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen on earth (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2).
Doesn’t this verse sound like it was written for the pandemic? Anyway, last Saturday Andy made bread and took a warm loaf to some friends. When he came home, he was carrying a plate with date muffins—yum! Later that afternoon we decided to take a second loaf to different friends. They asked, “Would you like some of the blueberry lemon loaf we made?” We sure would!
Back home I looked at the date muffins and blueberry loaf on my counter. God literally returned our bread—even upgraded it.
God gave extra proof to change my belief deep down that his principle of generosity is true. How gentle and kind he is. He often works this way when I grow in a new area. It is like being engaged; for a short time you are mysteriously able to see all the wonderful things about your fiancé, which gives you courage to marry.
Then, in the future, when God does not return bread so obviously (or marriage gets hard), we go forward in the strength of belief. Jesus says whoever gives up special things for his sake will receive houses and land now and in eternity (Mark 10:29-30). Some things we give up won’t be rewarded till eternity. But when God rewards us now, that strengthens our belief.
God is using COVID to tip me toward belief in his generosity principle—one small way he is redeeming this crisis in the lives of believers. How is God redeeming the pandemic in your life to encourage your belief?