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What a Christmas Movie Reminded Me

It was a cozy Sunday night. I was watching a Christmas movie while Jamie was watching football. It was one of the best Christmas movies I've seen this year. I was really enjoying relaxing and watching this fun, slightly sarcastic movie about a couple being "Scrooged ." (You know—visited by Christmas past, present, and future.)

Then, one of the characters said a line that settled deep inside my heart, "I want to be a generous person both in business and in life."

It was the second time the Holy Spirit reminded me of the importance of generosity that day. The first was in my pastor's sermon. I'd also been reading about the importance of living a generous life in a book recommended to help me overcome a scarcity mentality. Finally, this line in the Christmas movie caused me to turn to Jamie and say, "So here's the story…."

"A few weeks ago, I was looking at our church's Christmas outreach and felt the Holy Spirit lead me to give a certain amount. But after we had a few unexpected expenses, I started rationalizing why I didn't have to follow through. I said, 'I don't like giving just money… it's impersonal…maybe we could find some toys—-on sale.

We tried volunteering our time instead but got no reply.

I kept making excuses and finding reasons to avoid giving the amount the Holy Spirit had told me to give. Tonight, watching this movie, I realized I need to work on being generous and obeying the Holy Spirit."

I was a little surprised when Jamie replied, "I know. The Holy Spirit has been dealing with me about being more generous. We should give that amount and a little more."

The thing is that most of my life, I've considered myself a generous person. I've always paid my tithe. I give to missions and was raised to be generous and help others. For the most part, I've always loved sharing and being a cheerful giver.

However, lately, I'm realizing that just because you've been generous in the past doesn't mean there won't be times when generosity is challenging.

When the economy is bad, when you're facing your own financial struggles, when you are struggling with a scarcity mentality and are afraid you won't have enough…the temptation is to pull back and be less generous.

And yet, what I'm learning is that these excuses are not in line with God's Word. Instead, God doesn't call us to be generous when it is convenient or easy for us. God wants generosity to be a part of our daily lives. Jesus demonstrated this when He praised the poor widow who gave out of her need in Luke 21:

"Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.


And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4, ESV)

Jesus honors those who give sacrificially and joyfully, trusting that God will provide their needs as they are generous toward Him and others.

Second, I'm reminded that generosity isn't something we do; rather, it's who we are called to be as Christians. When someone describes a Christian, "a joyful giver" should always be among the character traits listed. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "God loves a cheerful giver."

On a personal note, I am learning that being generous is the antidote for a scarcity mentality. This is an area where the Holy Spirit has been working on my heart for a few months. As I shared in an earlier blog, I recently went through a time when many things were breaking in our house. This filled me with an enormous amount of fear and stress. That's when my friend said something about someone else having a "scarcity mentality." The Holy Spirit used our friend's words to show me that this mentality was the root of my fear. It was something I needed to overcome.

So, I've been working on it. Once it was identified, I could see how it was attacking my mind, and I could fight against it. I've learned that being generous—giving to others and meeting their needs—is a tremendous weapon in the battle against a scarcity mentality. It literally says, "I am not going to base my actions on the fears and lies that are attacking my brain, saying that God will not provide my needs. Instead, I am going to follow God's kingdom principles, be generous, and trust that as I obey God, He will provide my needs."

When we choose God's ways over fear, the fear in our lives knows it can't dominate. Instead, it has to flee.

But how can I know that God will provide my needs if I am generous?

Because the Bible says so.

Let's start with a very popular verse: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, ESV)

This verse promises that God will provide for our needs as we are generous and provide for the needs of others.

"Wait, I don't see that in that verse."

Well, go back and read the previous Scriptures (14-17) to see that Paul is talking about the generosity of the Philippian church. He's saying that just as they were generous, God will provide for them.

The same principle is taught in 2 Corinthians 9. In this chapter, Paul discusses an offering that will be collected for the churches suffering persecution in Jerusalem.

"Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop."

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

And God will generously provide all you need. Then, you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.  As the Scriptures say, "They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever." 

For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God."

In these verses, we see again that God will provide our needs as we are generous to others. He does this so that we can be generous again.

It's a basic principle in God's kingdom—how God's family functions. From time to time, I think it's something we all need to be reminded of.

Unlike the woman in the movie, we don't need to be visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future to remember the importance of generosity. (But how cool would that be?) Instead, we have the Holy Spirit living inside us and God's Word challenging us to be generous people in all areas of our lives at Christmastime and throughout the year.

This week's challenge: ask the Holy Spirit to show you how He wants you to be generous. Then, follow through and do it.

Be who God has called you to be: a generous, cheerful giver.

Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.

When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."

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