Video by BibleProject, words by Joe Steckley.
I’ve developed a weird habit. When I go into the store one of the first aisles I check is the one we need to survive. I have been told the shelves are empty, and I want to see if it’s true. It has been many months, and I have done this almost every single time. One thing this habit has taught me is that people are dramatic: not once have the shelves been empty of the coveted toilet paper.
It felt strange that this had become a new habit. As I thought about it, it became clear that this action was missing something simple: generosity. I was taught as a kid that when you are able you should help out others, whether through time or other means. For most of my life, this is how I have approached generosity. Give when you can, how you can.
However, I had recently watched a video from BibleProject on generosity, and I realized that this habit was becoming a problem. Our lack of generosity doesn’t come from the inability to give, but from the fear of going without. The fear that if we give something up, we are going to regret it in the future. BibleProject states that this fear comes from a lack of trust that God can provide for us. Somehow we don’t believe Jesus when he addressed the crowds and said:
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30, ESV).
I have to laugh at myself as I reflect on my lack of generosity, especially since I am nervous about toilet paper. Most of the time going without extra toilet paper isn’t going to mean going with less. Storing everything I may need isn’t a pathway to less, it is actually the opposite. Trusting that God provides is the foundation of what it means to be generous, as we no longer have to make sure that we are perfectly covered. God does not abandon his people; he gives himself for them.
Generosity is so much more than giving when you can, how you can. It should be giving when you see a need, however you can. So next time I go to the grocery store, instead of worrying about a need that I may have, I hope that I will look to see what I can do to care for someone else.