Summer 2024

The Generosity Of God

By Judy Lorenzen

I remember receiving Isaac Asimov’s book Beginnings from my sister. I opened the cover and began to read. Asimov was explaining beginnings, how nations around the world came to measure time as they do, by Gregorian calendar as their business calendar. I was engaged and had to scan the pages ahead to see if Asimov continued in this vein that told of how all nations agreed upon the Gregorian calendar, the calendar that marks the birth of Christ as the measurement of time, Before Christ and Anno Domini. However, as I scanned, I came upon claims Asimov made about the Bible, claims which had already been disproven years ago. After a few errors, I was no longer interested in reading his book. The fact remained, though, when men, internationally, wanted to set dates to make business calls or set up shipments, they needed a calendar they all could use to be specific, with same days and times, to do their international business and make money. Their love of money brought them to agree upon the Gregorian calendar to conduct business by, the calendar that acknowledges the Creator of the universe and His entrance into His own world as a babe. Readers of the Scriptures know that nothing is by accident or chance, and these few pages were a marvelous discovery that enlarged my thinking about how God uses unbelieving people to confirm His world. My windows of understanding were opening.

God knew the love of money would motivate the hearts of men more than any other affection in this world: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows,” 1 Timothy 6:10. He would have to compete with money for our deep and committed affection because He knew that we would serve the thing we loved. He is the One who told us we could not serve two masters—we would love the one and hate the other. In all of His creation we see how liberally He gave out beauty and everything we needed, yet He would have to compete with money for our hearts.

And why do we shut the window of our hearts, even pulling down the shades, when it comes to money? What is it about money that makes men lie, steal, and even kill for it? What is the temptation of it? Loving money is sin—psychology diagnoses it as an addiction. We love it and cannot get enough of it, and many of us love the power that comes with it. With money, we can lavish upon ourselves all of our desires—expensive foods, exotic places, expensive jewelry. I can buy a nice home or a mansion and a car, get an education and purchase healthcare. Money opens doors and provides me with opportunities I otherwise would not have had. It lets me pursue my passions and ultimately gives me the freedom to do whatever I want. Money is everything.

The green, silver, and gold are easy to fall in love with because they are beautiful. That kind of love has a name—greed. Loving money first and foremost deceives us into thinking that it can protect us and do everything God has promised to do for us, never leaving us or forsaking us. Smooth deception coils around our thoughts, and we choose to bless ourselves, rather than obey God’s Word and use our money to serve Him, convinced that if we tithe or give extra, we will have none for ourselves and bring hard times upon ourselves. I can’t help but reflect upon Jesus saying that where our treasure was, there is where our hearts are. A radio preacher said, “Show me your checkbook, and I will tell you what you love.” My checkbook is a window into my heart.

In several places in the Old and New Testament, God put into words, promises that would help us overcome or kill our greed. In Malachi 3:10, He told the Israelites to bring in the full tithe and see if He wouldn’t throw open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that they wouldn’t have enough room for. He even said to test Him on this promise. In Luke 6:38, Jesus tells His followers to give and it would be given back to them to overflowing.  That test and that command are so easy for God to fulfill, and He wants to give to His obedient children like we want to bless our children who obey and our families. It is we who have a hard time on testing God or following His command.

What if we showed Him how much we loved Him by pouring out our very best, our most costly possession, upon Him like Mary Magdalene did in Matthew 26:1-13 when she poured out upon Him her fragrant oil? What would happen if we lavished our love on Him and gave so generously to Him as He has given to us? Here, out in the country, I see His extravagance, how He poured out beauty so liberally in the way of stars that shine in the night sky and grasses and flowers that bloom in the fields for every earth dweller to enjoy. What was His reward for Mary Magdalene for giving to Him her best? He more than opened the windows of heaven. He said that every time the Gospel was preached in the whole world, what she had done would also be told in her memory. And here I am writing about her, again, in 2024. Time after time in the Scriptures, all over its pages, He abundantly blesses those who give Him their all, the widow with her two mites, giving all the living that she had because she wanted the Lord to have it. Both these women bring me to tears in their hearts for the Lord, their giving. Even more, in the times of Malachi, B.C., God was getting ready to bless the Jewish nation with the greatest blessing yet, the coming of the Messiah. Then A.D. came, and God tremendously blessed all the nations of the earth with the greatest gift of all, His son, sending Him to die on Calvary’s hill to pay our sin debt, a debt that we can never repay. How could I not give generously back to Him, my all!

I have learned this truth in my six decades here on this earth about giving my tithe and more: I cannot out give God. The more I have given to God, the more I find I have, again, and then have to ask Him where to give it, again. God wants everyone to know how much fun it is to give, and how gracious He is when anyone realizes He means what He promises—just test Him on it. In our earthly way of thinking, we focus on wealth in those promises—and learn that the depth of our riches is in Christ.

In Revelation, we peek into the window of eternity. Here, the Bible teaches about a time when time is no more. Earlier in the Gospels, Jesus told of how He went to prepare a place for us and talked of mansions with streets of gold. The end of Revelation is full of the descriptions of heaven, precious stones and jewels, the inheritance of the saints. When eternity comes and we see Him as He is, I think we will be sorry we didn’t give more and have more to give.

About the Author

Judy Lorenzen is a poet, writer, and teaching artist. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work appears in journals, magazines, anthologies and websites.