I have been abundantly blessed in so many ways. I have good parents, siblings I am friends with, a wonderful godly husband, two gorgeous children, loyal friends and an extended family who love and support me with time, provision and prayer.
God has also taken care of my needs and desires more times than I can count.
Our house, which is rented, was secured for us at less than the originally asked for price, and in spite of us failing the credit check (especially amazing given the beautiful and expensive area we live in).
The contents of our house have been provided for us, mostly through people at our church and friends. Everything from beds and a table to curtains and sofas and mugs and a gas bbq.
Some things were wedding gifts but a large percentage of our things were just donated, and here is how generous God is, not only are these things functional and comfortable, they also blend aesthetically.
This is something that matters to me. I like beautiful things, have an eye for space and design, and a desire to make an inviting, comfortable home. God knows this, he placed that creativity in me, and He is so kind as to ensure that even things I have no control over, such as choosing the style of donated furniture, will please me and fit in with my vision.
He has also been massively generous, blessing us with gifts of a car, piano, and free holiday abroad for my husband and I to enjoy some quality time alone, through generous people who are listening for the whispers of the Holy Spirit and are prepared to be obedient. We are HUGELY grateful!
We don’t have a lot of money. My husband works hard and earns a decent wage, but we have past debts and I don’t earn as I work by taking care of our children full time. Even before they arrived, I was only getting erratic and not brilliantly paid work as an actress.Yet God continues to provide again and again, and we find that despite fairly limited cash flow, we live a privileged life in many ways.
We couldn’t afford a wedding, yet had a beautiful day with over two hundred guests who brought food to share, stunning dresses made by my mother and generous financial support from my in-laws plus loads of favours called in from friends wanting to bless us. I think our final overall cost was between £2,500-£3000 for everything.
When I was pregnant with our first child, God provided most of the start up stuff we needed through a godly family who were moving to New Zealand, and who’s perspective was that ‘you cannot out-give God’. Everything else was given new, second hand or sourced through Freegle, so we barely had to pay for anything. When you think how much new parents are expected to spend these days, we are both amazed and grateful.
Incidentally, relying on God and receiving through people is not the same as asking or expecting people to make up your needs. God just tends to prefer to mobilise his church, rather than to supernaturally put unexpected cash through your door- although he will sometimes do that too!
God even takes care of the little luxuries, such as wine and beer. My husband has a (or possibly more than one) beer/wine fairy, as we affectionately named them, who leaves these items periodically in his pigeon hole at work. Things that, when on a tight budget, we wouldn’t be able to justify spending out on more than occasionally.
(By the way if you are our generous, anonymous ‘Beer Fairy’, we’d like to give you our heartfelt thanks- we are so grateful!)
My point us that when you put all of your trust in God, allowing him access to all areas of your life and heart, and lean on his Grace (well translated as ‘unmerited favour’), he never ceases to come through for you, in the spiritual and in the natural.
However all of this would be very misleading if it implied that the best reason for following Jesus was for a ton of free stuff.
The best and only reason for surrendering your life to Jesus is that He paid an unfathomably high price for our freedom from sin and it’s result- total physical and spiritual death- and instead offers us reconciliation, taking our place to ensure that justice is served.
Not only this but he offers us the chance to be called God’s children and in receiving his love to be able to love him in return and be in intimate relationship with him.
The offer of the Almighty God of himself, to come to know and be known by is not something to be sniffed at! It is breathtaking and utterly beyond anything we could ever deserve.
If love is only defined by what’s in it for us then it is not really love. I love God because the more I get to know Him, the more I am filled with gratitude, awe and wonder that he could love me as he’s SO good. That he chooses, on top of this love, to bless me with things that add to my comfort and joy out of his generous abundance is more than my brain can comprehend.
But in all this I am rich, not because of the things I have, but because of Whose I am. As much as I like the things I enjoy, if they were to go I would be no worse off. As Paul says, ‘I have learned to be content in plenty and in want’ Philippians 4:12.
The nature of the gospel is to increase and flourish in every area of our lives: relationships; work; family; finances; resources; generosity; character; integrity; peace; and in our effectiveness in sharing the gospel and building the kingdom.
If we take our eye and heart off the giver of all good things, then we make things our idol and our god instead, and that would be wrong. But if we seek him first and his righteousness, then we will find all the other things added.
In the end, everything belongs to Him anyway. We are just stewards of his provision, with the privileges of being his sons and daughters, building his kingdom, and being invited to share in his goodness. It is all for his glory.
If he is sovereign, then he is entitled to bless whomever, however he chooses, and we would be daft to oppose that. We can choose to hand things he has given us on to others, but there is never any sin in receiving from him.
I for one will continue to expect him to be good to me because HE is good and because he loves me. How he wishes to do that is up to him. And I will seek to become more generous like him, listen for his whispers and reflect his love more fully to those around me.