Generosity and Gratitude

Hey Leader! We see you!! We see you getting ready on Sundays and every day in between. We see the planning and preparation that goes into Christmas that likely started weeks ago. We see you loving those kids, embracing their grownups, and walking with families, as family.

Christie Penner Worden
10 minute read

Start of Thanksgiving

As the season of Thanksgiving approaches in North America, we want to take a moment and say thank you. We are grateful for the sacrifices and investments you make into not just the lives of those you serve, but into the Church. We appreciate your dedication: to your role, to the kids, to their families, to Jesus. Your life is a testimony. And the dividends of your generosity in all that you do likely cannot be measured this side of heaven.

Lately, I’ve been pondering what it means to live a lavishly generous life. And I think sometimes I’ve confused it to mean extraordinary giving; but maybe that’s only half of the equation. Maybe generosity has more to do with resilience, trust, and hope than it does giving alone.

You have what you need

The words of Jesus in Matthew 10:8 ring in my ears as I wonder: “Freely you have received. Freely give.” He says this after listing some commissioned miracles (including healing the sick and raising the dead!). To be clear, this isn’t an investment/dividend situation where there is a quantifiable deposit or counted withdrawal per se. What I think He might be saying is: you have what you need.

We are invited to steward God’s love and gifts for the sake of His Kingdom. That invitation is generous in and of itself, but I think it’s also an indication that what we have been given we have also been equipped to steward well. He gives according to His purpose. You have what you need.

More than this

There is no scarcity in the Kingdom of God! There is more than enough. You can give away what you have freely received knowing, trusting, anticipating that He will do it again. God only gives good gifts and He does not withhold them from His children.

This is resilience: not simply a bouncing back, but a buoyancy in the bobbing about. You can endure. You can be generous. You can steward your gifts freely. Because you will bounce back. How many promises in Scripture remind you of that? Countless threads of restoration can be found woven into the tapestry of Scripture.

To be fair, we get tired, run down, confused in full seasons. But Jesus’ promises of more are still for you. And He is with you.

So, on the days you feel drained, in the moments you feel uncertain that you have enough to give, with the to-do list growing and seemingly never completed, I wonder what you need to feel resilient, buoyant? Is it a long walk? A quiet corner? Coffee with a friend?

Ephesians 3:14-21 says this (in The Message version):

"My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."

The work of refueling resiliency may simply be to rest in knowing that generosity is a very Jesusy posture, and the fruit of it is joy. And when I look around at the work you are doing among the generations, dear friend, you remind me of our Father—the family resemblance is uncanny. I am so deeply grateful for you.

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