Challenging Your Generosity
By Mike Stickler
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Today, the word faith is tossed around quite loosely. We often use this word in conjunction with an idea or principle and sometimes join to an institution or organization.
But, biblical faith has a much stronger meaning and it includes a component of trust. I often say, “With no perception of risk, no faith is required.” James explains that if not accompanied with appropriate action, faith by itself—is dead. Or maybe better put, “without life.” We cannot say that we truly give of our resources, as God desires, without taking away from something having a cost, a sacrifice. We cannot say that we truly love someone without an element of risk.
How should we respond generously by faith?
It is simple. Does my act of generosity with my time, talent, treasure, or relationships have a perceived risk? Let me illustrate …
I was reading Facebook the other day and there was a video (apparently filmed undercover) of a woman, appearing to be old and physically handicapped, ‘working the streets’ of a large city. This video showed her working as a beggar, asking for support with a tin cup. As you can imagine, some folks gave generously, some a little, and many more just ignored her altogether. Then the video continued filming her until the end of the day where she gets into a nice SUV and drives herself away. Still followed, she parks in front of a nice walk-up. As she exits the car, the woman appears transformed. She is wearing designer clothes. Miracle of miracles; no physical disability is observed.
The person who posted this writes, “This is why I don’t give to street people.”
But I say, “Where is your faith?”
The risk is that you may be ripped off, taken advantage of, or conned out of your hard-earned money. I believe James is instructing us to act upon the faith that God has given and allow Him to honor that act of generosity. God will bring the justice upon those who take advantage.
Explore in prayer today your reasons for not responding generously by faith. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal instances where you refused the risk. Ask God for forgiveness for those occurrences that He brings to your mind. Complete your prayer by asking God to open up the opportunity for generosity of faith today and when He presents it (and He will), respond appropriately.
Write it down below. We want to hear your faith stories.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.