Giving in the hard times

My daughter broke down in tears one morning over a seemingly harmless question. Her brother asked if he could use her blue hair spray for crazy hair day. A simple “yes” would have been sufficient. However, she responded with, “how much is left? I need to see if I will have enough... for someday in the distant future.” Okay. She didn’t say that last part, but you get the gist.

It would have been easy to correct her behavior with “you have plenty. Stop being selfish.” But this heart issue goes deeper. Her lack of generosity comes from the lie that she won’t have what she needs when she needs it. She’s not alone.

As this pandemic continues to linger and the economic effects become more grave, many businesses, households, and organizations find their bank accounts getting smaller and the worry getting bigger. Our house is not exempt.  Even with the best preparations, our income swings with the tide of the economy and thus conversations around the subject become more regular.

When it’s time for our monthly giving, we fall into the same trap my daughter does: will we have enough?

It’s no coincidence I read Luke 21:1-11 this morning; the same day we had to pay bills and give our tithes and offerings. As I read through it, I noticed the unusual placement of the two seemingly unrelated messages. Verses 1-4 are about a poor widow who gives all she has to the church. Verses 5-11 Jesus talks about the end of times. Now before you get all freaked out, I’m not about to claim that Jesus will be here tomorrow or this year, so prepare!  The truth is, no one knows when He is coming back. But he does give us some insight into what our future holds. It sounds familiar. Pretty much what has happened over the past 2000 years.

When you hear of wars and fighting in different places, don’t panic. These things have to happen first, but the end is not yet.” Then Jesus said to them, “Nations will have wars with other nations. Countries will fight against countries. The earth will shake and break apart in different places. There will be no food. There will be bad diseases among many people. Very special things will be seen in the sky that will make people much afraid.” - Luke 21:9-11

The question I asked myself is: why would Jesus tie these two topics together?

Maybe, he wanted to point out that holding tightly to the things of this world will never prepare us for what’s going to come. Perhaps being generous with whatever we have is a key to living more freely, in the want and in the plenty. Is it possible that we get to see God work in real-time when we give out of our comfort zone? Maybe we should take a page from the widow.

She has no husband or money, yet she gives generously because she knows it’s all temporary.

I can attest to the fact that God always provides when we give with a generous spirit. Many times, as soon as I hit the ‘donate’ button, a new real estate client appears for my husband. Or when we send cash to a family in need, someone else donates to the non-profit ministry the very next day. Not an overabundance, just what we need. Just enough to remind us who’s really providing for us.

So go ahead, share the hairspray with others, my friends. I’m willing to bet the whole neighborhood will have blue hair from that single can. Somehow, He makes it happen.


JL McCarthy

May 20, 2020