Old Fashioned Generosity

I think the more resources I see people have, the less they generally give away?
My dad told me stories of growing up in the Mennonite church and the offerings that would come in at harvest time. Powerful! Inspiring!! So much to feed the poor!
We lived in a little town when I was a child that was established by a religious community whose vision with the incredible land God had led them to (so different from the famines and wars they came from), was that they could feed the world from there.I think in a matter of two or three generations that may have changed to “Buy bigger boats from there”?
I have no issues with boats. I have friends with boats which is awesome. I think the trick is having friends with boats who also feed the world:)
I’m preaching a sermon series next called Empty Hands – the Key to Increase. 
If you know generous people who also are disciplined spenders, you likely envy the divine touch upon their lives and families? It’s getting harder and harder to find that kind of blessing, but there are extremely generous people out there. 
How can Empty Hands be the key to increase? Doesn’t even make sense. 
Well, as a pastor I ask people to forgive those who have hurt them. That doesn’t make sense either, but the truth about forgiveness is that until you release that person from what they owe you, they’re not the one in chains, YOU are.
Then we lift our eyes to heaven and ask God to see us. Forgiveness is easy to forget, when you’re the one who needed it. 
How does giving forgiveness away add so much to my life? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll ask God in heaven when I might understand it. 
How can giving resources away bring them in? 
No idea, it just DOES. 
Today we depend on science too much I think. We’re afraid of what we don’t understand, so we try to name it, chart it, put it in a box, rather than what is the better option in my mind: live in awe of what we didn’t create. 
It’s taken decades, but I rather enjoy not understanding things now and just being part of the adventure. 
My lovely wife Erin and I walk and pray every morning, you may see us in Coopers (voted the best community to live in in Airdrie… by people who live there. Haha. I think that’s hilarious). Sometimes right in the middle of asking God to help our City, its people, its government, its hurting families, addicted teenagers we know, I actually look up say at a tree we’re walking under. 
I was always a little adult when I was a child, but now I’m a big kid as an adult… 
“ERIN! WHY ON EARTH DOES THAT TREE’S LEAVES MAKE SO MUCH NOISE IN THE WIND AND THIS ONE DOESN’T???”
Her friend Amy the Tree Person told her why some leaves rustle so loudly. Turns out the stems are square when the quiet ones are round? Who knew???
What blows my mind is WHY? And Who made it like that? Something doesn’t come from nothing. Chaos never produces order without an outside force applied to it. A car accident never puts vehicles back together, it just spreads them out so to speak. 
Resources are just resources until you plant them in someone’s field. 
And you only reap what you sow. 
I see many people (myself included) that demand love and affection from those around them, but unless I sow love and affection I can’t reap it. 
Farmers know. How shocked they would be to reap a harvest in a field they hadn’t sown? Don’t eat your seed. 
Venue is building a brand new buildout in a new development in Kingsview. Trouble is, I hate asking for money. Like proper hate it. 
My dad taught me extreme generosity, so our family resources are literally blessed every single day. I told someone who’d never given anything away that everything we did had the Midas Touch. Sure we have bills, but in the past decades I swear my car doesn’t break down as much as yours. 
Every week we experience little miracles that are just normal to us now. 
Now, we are also really good at budgeting, but that is not to spend more on ourselves, but so we have more to give away. 
But just as a person I hate asking for something until I realized most people are waiting to be challenged to live above where they are now, to do something that really matters. To love and give extravagantly. To give until it hurts. 
And I hate campy church fund raising campaigns when they raise money for decades but never build anything with it. 
So as a 4 year old church, we scraped enough for a downpayment to purchase and build out our brand new space. 
I waited until I had something to show people, not that that’s the right way, but it’s what I did. 
I finally threw it out to the core people of Venue a couple weeks ago. I finally asked because they’ll never reap what they don’t sow. And nearly everybody who gave over and above also gives a great percentage of what they earn back to the great things God is doing through the church. Heck, Venue people gave away $72,000 last year to the city and those that needed it, on top of everything else we do!
I was shocked by the response when I asked “So, what do you want to do?” Just about cried in front of everyone as the number kept going up, which is likely another reason some of the boys sold stuff and chipped in because they love embarrassing me:)
A return to old fashioned generosity. In the midst of chaos and fear our people decided to revive that courage, the audacity to send a message of hope to a city that needs it no matter the personal cost. 
I think I feel the same way my dad must have felt when I’d heard the neighbour girl couldn’t afford her school fees in LA, and I gave every cent I’d been carefully saving to her. 
Don’t worry, God got it all back to me. He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord. The worship leader of our church gave me the same amount that Sunday because God told him to. Try figuring that out. 
Oh and when the girl’s struggling parents took my small gift to the school, they were informed that ALL their huge back fees were paid up. Like ALL of them. 
So glad I didn’t keep the seed of her miracle in my hands. 
Giving what we can’t keep to gain what we can’t lose. Sounds good to me. 

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