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First, Do What is Right
By Mike Stickler
To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Generosity is a holistic approach to living. You can’t be generous to your neighbor by helping them mow their lawn—while also hating the poor. Nor can you give time to the needy—but not, first, help your child with his homework. The truth is you have to be generous in every area of your life.
A few years ago I was working with a ministry with a very philanthropy-minded supporter. He was a partner in a large law firm, employing hundreds of staff, housed on an entire floor of a downtown skyscraper. In every area of his life, he appeared to live the example of generosity. His family was healthy and whole, lacking nothing. He attended and participated in church and its activities and gave generously—not just to his church; but, also many causes, including the one where I was working. He was easily giving over 200k per year to various ministries and charities.
But, as you got to know him, the dissonance between his generous giving and his lack of contentment (even with his comfortable and affluent lifestyle) was disturbingly evident. The sheer number of dollars and hours he could give away just didn’t seem to bring him joy.
Over time, I was given an explanation of his position in the law firm. His job was to review his clients’ contractual obligations and find a legal – and sometimes ruthless – way to break those contracts. In essence, he was helping his clients break their word.
In Proverbs, today, we are told the Lord wants us to live righteously and justly, that He values this over sacrifice. You see, He doesn’t need your giving. He wants you to see it as a response out of a life lived for Him.
But, when you have areas of your life in which you refuse to surrender to Him, your sacrifice of giving does not have the same spiritual result. Might this explain why he couldn’t attain the contentment that he prayerfully hoped for in his generous life?
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Are you reaping a similarly bitter crop from generosity you have sown? How do you turn it around?
Simply, prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal to you what areas of your life you have stubbornly not surrendered to Him. List those areas here. Take courage, now, and scroll down...
Now ask: What do you need to do to repent of those areas?
The answer may be complicated and possibly needing additional spiritual help from your pastor.
As a matter of accountability, tell the world what God has revealed to you below, also.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.