Do you know people who are remarkably generous? It seems like every time you turn around, they are giving, whether it is sharing time, making a large donation, or giving wonderful gifts. In Scripture, we see that God is just like this, only on a more extravagant scale.
Jesus does not give just a few people only a mouthful of food. He feeds four thousand people until their stomachs are filled. That is extravagance! What is more, just before performing this miracle, we see Jesus freeing a young girl from a demon and healing a deaf man with a speech impairment. Both of them were Greek, outsiders who were considered undeserving of God’s favor! But Jesus showed that God’s generosity surpasses all boundaries, even the one between Jews and Gentiles. Later, he took the time to pray over another man twice – just to make sure he could see perfectly.
In his parables, Jesus also portrayed God as a lavishly generous Father, think of the father of the prodigal son or the king who forgives the equivalent of millions of dollars of debt or the employer who pays a day’s wages for just an hour’s work. And if that is not enough, remember his most generous act of all. Jesus laid down his life for us on the cross. That is what generosity looks like!
Yet for all these stories, we can still think differently about our heavenly Father. “Look at how many times I have failed. God can never be happy with me. It is no use to ask for his forgiveness or his help. I do not deserve them anyway.” It is as if we are programmed to think this way, and we need to be reminded over and over again that it just is not true.
Imagine yourself sitting with the four thousand, Jesus is looking on all of you with compassion. Imagine him pausing before you and looking into your eyes. He has so much love for you! He wants nothing more than to convince you you have a generous Father in heaven. This is a wonderful place to be – and you can experience it every day. What a loving, generous God…we have!
-word among us