Joyce Meyer - Thoughts on Generosity
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Well, thank you for joining me today on, "Enjoying Everyday Life," and I really believe that the Word of God has the power to bring joy into our lives. Today, I wanna teach about generosity. You know, when you are a giver in life rather than a taker, you have so much more joy. The Bible actually, says it's more blessed to give than to receive. And I'm talkin' about giving in every way from compliments to encouragement, to smiles, to physical help that someone needs, financial help, giving to the Kingdom of God so we can continue preaching the Gospel. We need to just be giving-minded. Don't live to get, live to give. If you're a generous person, you're going to be a happy person. If you're a generous person, you're going to be a powerful person.
I'd like to start with a story from my own life. I'm holding in my hand a rhinestone bracelet. Now, I know that you probably can't see it super well, but, the clasp, here, comes together and it makes a bow, and somebody gave this to me and I just thought it was just so cute. I really, really liked it. Do you have any of those things in your life that you just really, really like? Well, I was wearing it to my conferences, back whenever, I got it. I mean, this story's probably 20-years-old or maybe, even more, but I learned a big lesson from it. And one of the girls that sang on our worship team admired it a couple times, "That's such a pretty bracelet".
Well, I felt like the Lord spoke to my heart to give it to her. Now, do you ever have that happen? Do you ever have times where you really like something, and you kinda sense that God wants you to give it away? He wants you to use it as a blessing to someone else. Well, you know, we don't mind that at all if it's something that we don't care that much about. But it gets harder when it's something that you really, really, really like. And so, I waited a lot longer than I should have to be obedient to God.
And I kept using excuses like, "Well, God, I don't even know if silver's gonna look good on her skin tone. And she was pretty thin", and I thought, "Well, you know, it's probably gonna fall off her arm. It's gonna be too big for her". And finally, I just thought, "I'm gonna obey God and just do it". So, I did that and I gave it to her. And she was just so thankful. And "Oh, you're so sweet and you're so generous," and you know, all that stuff that our flesh loves to hear. And so, I made sure I told her, you know, "It was hard for me to give it away 'cause I really, really liked it. But I felt like God wanted me to give it to you".
And then, every time she would wear it, I would make a comment about how much I missed it. So, I was really, I guess, hinting for her to give it back to me, which, eventually, she did. She came to me one day, and she said, "You know, I believe God put it on my heart to give this back to you". Well, then, I felt really kinda dumb because I probably, had made her feel bad about having it, and me not having it anymore. But I took it home, put it in my drawer, and you know, that's been 20-some-odd years ago, and do you know that I have never ever, ever worn this bracelet since then? And after a period of time went by, maybe a year or so, I realized that I didn't even care that much for it anymore.
And I said to the Lord, "Now give me some explanation. I love this. I was obedient to you in giving it away. You told her to give it back to me, and now, I don't even like it". And the Lord taught me a big lesson, he said, "Once I tell you to give something, if you keep it after that, it no longer has any 'anointing'", was the word he used, which meant power, "To be a blessing to you" now, I want you to think about what I just said because this is so important. In other words, if you want to enjoy your life and enjoy what you have, there's going to be things and money that God's gonna ask you to part with, sometimes sacrificially, and if you keep what God tells you to give away, the enemy will find some way to steal it from you, or you will never, ever enjoy it again.
This was such a good lesson for me, and I hope it's a good lesson for you. Giving is a large part of our lives as Christians. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life," God is a giver. And he's not a stingy giver. He is an abundant giver. He is the God of more than enough, not the God of barely get by. And we're created in his image, and as believers his spirit lives in us, so therefore, we should all be givers, also. And I think that sometimes, even if you are a giver, at least I find in my life, I need to recommit or, not that I've stopped giving but I need to commit to grow in giving.
You know, in 2 Corinthians 8:7, Paul said to the Corinthian church, "See that you excel in the grace of giving". You know, excel means to do as much as you possibly can. And so, I don't wanna get stuck at a certain level of giving and then, kind of mentally pat myself on the back because I'm such a giver. I think that we have to purpose to always be growing in our giving. And you know, sometimes, I've said this, and you may or may not agree, but I don't know that we're really giving until we can feel it just a little bit.
In other words, if I have a coat in my closet that I've worn for five years and now, I haven't worn it for two years and I give that to somebody, well, I don't feel that. It doesn't really cost me anything because I'm finished with it anyway. But a few years back, I bought a coat, it was actually, a cape that I loved! I mean, I didn't just like it, I mean, I loved it. And every time, I wore it, I got so many compliments on it. And then, I was in a store one day, and a woman that I know, admired it. "Oh, where did you get that? I'd like to see if I can get one. I love that so much".
Well, I went home and I knew, in my heart... How many of you know, you know in your heart? God doesn't have to scream in your ear. You know, I just got that feeling, "Give it to her". Well, I didn't wanna give it to her. I wanted to keep it. You know, God doesn't always let us just do things that we wanna do. Well, you know, I'm 20 years past the bracelet now, so I knew to just do what he told me to. Well, soon as I gave it to her, of course, she was delighted, and I called where I bought it, and wanted to order another one. Well, guess what? There's no more to be had and, "No, you can't reorder". Well, that was real giving for me because I felt it.
And so, I like to always refresh and reaffirm my commitment to be a giver in life, not just a taker. And sometimes, I like to increase my giving or sometimes, I like to do some kind of special giving. I don't know if you realize how powerful giving is. When we're selfish, our lives are small and generally unhappy. And the best way to fight selfishness is with generosity. Or you might say that generosity is the antidote for the poison of selfishness. The best way to fight greed is with generosity. Generosity is actually, a weapon that God has given us. It's actually, a way that we can fight the enemy in our lives that will increase our joy. And I can tell you, right now, Satan absolutely hates, hates, hates generosity.
1 John 3:16 says, "By this we know and have come to understand the depth and the essence of his God's precious love: that he was willing to lay down his life for us because he loved us. And we ought to lay our lives down for other believers". In other words, God expects us to behave the way that he did. God is generous and to be generous is to be like God. I always say, "Good things are happening to me and good things are happening through me".
You see, God gives you forgiveness and he expects you to give it away. God gives you patience, he's patient with you, so he expects you to be patient with other people. Everything that God gives us, we're not to just store up and become like this stagnant pool of dead water. It's to you and through you, to you and through you. So, every time that you let something flow through you, you make room for God to do something else for you, and then, that flow never stops in our lives. And so, have you thought about your giving lately? Have you asked yourself, "Am I being diligent in giving? Am I doing as much as I can? Are there other people around me that have needs that I could easily meet, but I just haven't thought to do it, or I've thought about it and didn't want to do it"?
Galatians 6:7 says, "Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that and that only, is what he shall reap". I love the whole principle of sowing and reaping. I actually, feel like it gives me a little measure of control over my life. You know, if I want people to be more friendly with me, then I can sow a seed of beginning to be more friendly with them. And if I give, it'll be given back to me. "Good measure pressed down shaken together and running over," the Bible says in Luke 6:38.
Do you want running over blessings in your life? I know I do. And the way to get them is to be a giver. I have a desire to excel in generosity, and I hope that I'm birthing one on the inside of you, today. I've always enjoyed giving. Actually, giving is one of the gifts that the Bible lists as a ministry gift that God gives us. And I believe that I have that gift. I've always enjoyed giving, even back when I was a child, but I want to make sure that I do as much as I can for as many people as I can.
You know, Malachi 3 verse 10 makes an amazing promise and a challenge, issues a challenge. And God said, "If you bring all the tithe and offering into the storehouse, I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you can't contain it". And if you read it, he actually says, "Try me and see for yourself". Well, God's saying if you don't believe this'll work in your life, then just try it, and you'll find out what I'll do for you.
Some of you have so many needs in your life, but perhaps some of you aren't giving anything. You know, or you give the least that you can. You don't pray about your giving. Maybe you just, when you go to church, you throw a dollar or two dollars in the bucket just to get it passed by you. But we need to be very generous in our giving because God is generous and we are created in his image. We're always afraid that when we give, we're gonna lose but that is not possible. The Bible teaches us that you cannot out give God. Listen to these scriptures in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 verses 6-11. "Remember this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly. And he who sows generously that blessings may come to someone". You don't even wanna give to get something back. You give that people might be blessed.
I want people to be blessed. And I'm happy when God uses me as the instrument to be that blessing in their life. You know why I'm happy? Because I've learned that generous people are happy people, and I spent enough sad years in my life, I don't wanna be sad anymore. I wanna be glad. "And he who sows generously that blessings may come to someone will reap generously and with blessings. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give", so, you don't just make a decision and then never get around to doing it. You follow through and do what God put in your heart.
"Don't do it reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". The Amplified Bible says a "Cheerful, joyous prompt to do it, giver". "And God is able to make all grace every favor and earthly blessing come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances, and whatever the need be self-sufficient, possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation". Wow. "As it is written: 'they have freely scattered their gifts to the poor: their righteousness endures forever. Now, he who supplies seed to the sower'", now, listen to this part, "'and bread for food'".
God gives us money and things to give away and he gives us money and things for ourselves. "'he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness'". So, every time you give, God will give back to you, and part of what he gives to you is seed, to give away again, because the only way, if you reap a harvest, you're not gonna get another harvest unless you so sow more seed. So, this is something we need to just, it just becomes a regular habit in our life and we're always giving. "You will be enriched in every way so you can be generous on every occasion", uh-oh generous on every occasion, "And through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God".
Now, you know, that's the beautiful part of it. I sent someone flowers and they got 'em today. And she's a Christian woman, and she text me right away, and thanked me, but you know what? I can guarantee you that she's also thanking God, because maybe she just needed a little bit of encouragement, today. There's things in her life that she's going through. And you know, sometimes when somebody does something for us, it lets us know that they love us, but even more important, sometimes, it lets us know that God loves us, because God uses people. You can be used to be an encouragement to people. You can send a text today and say, "I want you to know that you're important in my life". You can send a text that says, "I want you to know that I appreciate everything that you do for me and have done for me".
You know, when I even think about blessing other people I start to get happy. And I think that the anointing of God is also attached to being generous. You say, "What's the anointing"? Well, it's a word that we don't hear as much about today as I would like for us to. There was a time when there was a lot of teaching on the anointing. And you know, Jesus is called, "The anointed one". King David was called, "God's anointed". And the word anointing just means, "The presence and the power of God". When you're anointed to do something, I'm anointed to teach the Word of God. Well, that means that I can do it, and I can do it well, and I have the energy to do it, and God enables me to do it. And I think that the anointing to do it is even increased as I become more and more generous in my life.
Let me tell you something, when you give you're not losing anything, you're setting yourself up for big blessings in your life. Let me ask you a question. When's the last time you did something for somebody outside of maybe just putting your offering in church? How about this? How about if you commit to putting a smile on at least three faces everyday? You know, you give somebody a compliment, they're gonna smile at you. If you give somebody a gift they're gonna smile at you. What if every Christian decided, "I'm gonna put a smile on at least three faces every day"? We'd have a lot more happy people in the world than what we do right now.
The Bible teaches us in Matthew 6 that what we do in secret God will reward in the open. It says, "When you give don't be like the pharisees were, who blew a trumpet, so everybody would see what they were doing". We don't wanna give just to be thanked, or just to be noticed, or just to be well thought of. We wanna do it unto God because we believe it's his principal, and we wanna do it to be a blessing to someone else. And when we give, if we do it for those two reasons: for God and to be a blessing, God will always give back to you more than what you gave.
You say, "Well, you know, I don't really know what to do". Well, you know what? You can contact a shelter in your city that helps the poor and the needy, and you can say, "I'd like to volunteer four hours of my time once a week," or if that's too much for you, start with once a month. Get out and help some other people. Get out and see how little some people have, and then, it will make you even more thankful for what you have. I think sometimes, we just sit home with our blessings, and we become more and more greedy, and we can get grouchy.
You know, we can pray for God to give us something and then complain because we have to take care of it. It's good for us to help other people. We do that on a regular basis, here at the ministry, we're always looking for places to give. And of course, we're involved heavily in world missions around the world, and love to do that. But during the holiday season, when Christmas rolls around, we call all the different shelters in the city to see how we can help them. And if we know they're reputable and not wasting money, we'll send them extra money so they have the money to feed people. You know, there's more people in the holidays that go to shelters for help.
You know, generosity, I believe, is connected also to answered prayer. And you say, "What? No, you can't buy an answer to your prayer". But listen to this, in Acts 10:2, "There was a devout man and one who, along with all of his household, feared God. He made many charitable donations to the Jewish people and he prayed to God always". Now, he was a gentile. He wasn't a Jew but he feared God, and he was a giver and he was a prayer. A giver and a prayer. Don't just be a prayer, be a giver and a prayer. Acts 31, in that same chapter, says, "'Cornelius'", God said this. "'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered before God so that he is about to help you'". Wow, I like that. Let me read that again. "'Cornelius, your prayers have been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered by God and he is about to help you'".
I love that. Wow. Our gifts that we give with a right heart stand before God as a memorial. God never forgets them. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in Galatians 6:10, taught me so much and I hope that you get something out of this. It says, "So then, while we as individual believers have the opportunity", come on, how many opportunities are you missing? How many opportunities is God putting in front of you, but you're not paying attention? God wants to use you, but you're not paying attention or you're not even considering that you might be the one that God wants to use to meet a need.
You know, the Lord put on my heart, one time, he said, "Stop asking me to do things for people that you could easily do and just don't want to". Ouch. Well, that's true. "Each time you have an opportunity," it says, "Let us do good to all people not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being, and especially be a blessing to those of the household of faith to (born-again believers)". Now, you know, I love personally, what the Amplified classic translation says. It says, "Be mindful to be a blessing". Have your mind full of ways that you can be a blessing. Come on, do it on purpose. Sit and think every day, "What can I do for somebody else today"?
When you're going out and you're gonna be around people, think about who you're gonna be around and ask God if there's anything that you might take to bless them with. Or if God doesn't put anything on your heart, when you're around them, compliment them. Tell 'em what they have on, looks good on 'em. Or you like the color of their hair? Nobody's ever gonna get mad at you for giving them a compliment. Acts 20:35, "It is more blessed to give than to receive".
Acts 10:38, I love this scripture. "See how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power: and he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him". You know, I wanna leave you with that thought today, that any one of us can get up and go about doing good. Let that be your goal every day, "I'm gonna get out of this bed today, and I'm not gonna sit around here and feel sorry for myself. I'm not gonna be complaining and in a grouchy mood because I don't have everything I want. I'm going to just go about being a blessing to other people".
You know, you always need more of the word and we make sure every day we offer you the word in some format. Today, we're offering you three teachings on CD, just simply called, "My WebpageDo Unto Others". It's amazing how many times God uses the word "Others" in the Bible. And then, also, a book that's been very popular, "The Power of Speaking God's Word Out Loud". I don't have time to tell you too much about it, but trust me, it's gonna be a book that's really going to help you. I'm so glad you joined us today. And I want you to always remember that God loves you and he has a special plan for your life. Thank you.