In Charles Swindoll’s book Improving Your Serve, he tells this touching story…
Shortly after World War II came to a close, Europe began picking up the pieces. Much of the old country had been ravaged by war and was in ruins. Perhaps the saddest sight of all was that of little orphaned children starving in the streets of those war-torn cities.
Early one chilly morning an American soldier was making his way back to the barracks in London. As he turned the corner in his jeep, he spotted a little lad with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside, the cook was kneading dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb, stopped, got out, and walked quietly over to where the little fellow was standing. Through the steamed-up window, he could see the mouth-watering morsels being pulled from the oven, piping hot. The boy salivated and released a slight groan as he watched the cook place them onto the glass-enclosed counter ever so carefully.
The soldier’s heart went out to the nameless orphan as he stood beside him.
“Son . . . would you like some of those?”
The boy was startled, “Oh, yeah . . . I would!”
The American stepped inside and bought a dozen, put them in a bag, and walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London morning. The soldier smiled, held out the bag, and said simply: “Here you are.” As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat.
He looked back and heard the child ask quietly: “Mister . . . are you God?”
We are never more like God than when we give. “God so loved the world, that He gave” (John 3:16).
Giving is the essence of who God is
When we think about the character of God, we cannot help but notice how much he has given and continues to give. All of God’s attributes are expressed by giving. What is more amazing is how he turns his focus on giving onto us.
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17
It only makes sense that in turn, we would be generous. If we are to live Christ-like, then naturally, generosity is an attribute to emulate.
Withholding from God
The sad reality is that many Christians are not generous. Oh sure, it might feel good to give a few dollars to a needy charity at the cash register at a grocery store. It might seem generous to throw $50 now and then into the offering at church.
As good as those things are, they would hardly characterize someone as having a generous character. Consider this verse from Proverbs.
Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! Provers 21:26
The keyword there is “love”. Godly people love to give. It makes them happy. They can’t get enough. I have seen this to be true of those men and women who I look up to as Godly.
Are you a generous giver?
So let’s make this very practical. Are you generous? Is it something that characterizes you? These are challenging thoughts and it would be good for us to consider how they impact our lives. It’s pretty easy to ignore the call of God to be generous and continue on as we have always been.
Maybe this Christmas it won’t be a ghost who visits you in the middle of the night. Maybe, it will be the voice of God telling you, “Be generous, for I am generous.”