The Bible compares giving to sowing seed, and promises that God will provide resources for your giving. That is wonderfully encouraging! But we forget so easily and begin to fret about our lack of resources, don't we?
Look! "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." (2 Corinthians 9:8, 10,11)
Don't worry about the 'seed' - what you are to give - God wants to provide, and that generously! Why? So our generosity will trigger much thanksgiving and praise to God. If your giving is lined up with His goal, you can get ready to give, for God will provide the resources for your giving.
Wonderful! I hope that excites you as much as it does me.
What kind of resources do you need for your giving? Money! How about time to give of yourself? What about your knowledge, and your unique skills?
In my case, I always seem to be out of time and money. I do my best to be a good steward of both. I juggle my time continually to make sure I have room for the important things, and to be able to help as many as possible. Then I spy another area of need. Although it looks like I have no time left to give, when I commit it to the Lord, and tell Him I am willing to give if He helps me make the time, then - look, a little gap opens here or there. Or I can give something else up for a while. That happens more and more often with financial resources too.
Sometimes the resources we need are a little more intangible, such as insights and wisdom to cope with some project or ministry. Perhaps we need more training in a certain skill. Some of that can come by patient trial and error, and simply by doing the work long enough. But we can come to a point where it makes more sense to seek out specific training or guidance. Think of this as a resource, and remember the Lord's promise, so ask Him for that resource! Remember, God will provide resources for your giving.
Are you still puzzled about the 'seed' you are to sow?
The gifts we give in Jesus' name can be various. Giving money to someone in financial need is easy and can happen very quickly. (Often the hardest part is making the decision to give). But you have other resources too.
Time: Everyone gets 24 hours a day, whether rich or poor - it's all in how you choose to spend it.
Wisdom and knowledge: The knowledge and discernment and know-how that you've gained through education or through your unique experiences can be a treasure trove of resources that no one else has. This can be as diverse as computer repair skills, to child-rearing, to gardening, to writing songs, to playing a musical instrument, to creating graphics, to praying effectively. Are you letting your resources go to waste because you don't recognize them as resources for sharing and giving?
Possessions: What of the material "stuff" you have? Are you in fact, using it all, or is much of it just taking up storage space? Are you really wearing all the clothes in your closet?
Let me illustrate with a personal story. A few years ago I was a live-in caregiver for my Dad, and while I was cleaning in the basement, I was moaning to the Lord in my prayers that I had nothing to give. I longed to be a generous giver! Suddenly I looked at my stuff on some shelves and on an old cabinet. There were two old Gestetners that I had once used to produce a family history book. They had been given to me just when I needed them. One was electric and the other a manual, crank-operated one.
At that moment I remembered that a young couple from our church, at King's College in Belize, had reported that their power was off more often than it was on, which made it hard to prepare lessons and copy them for the students. It occurred to me that the manual Gestetner would work even with the power off, and if they would like the electric one, they could have it too. These were sturdy, working machines, not ready for garbage, but here in Canada, no one seemed to want to stoop to using them.
I emailed Darryl to ask if these Gestetners would be acceptable at the college. He thought they would be great, and informed me that Venture Teams was sending a group for a short-term missions trip soon. Maybe they would bring them along. I contacted them; I just had to partially disassemble them, pack the parts in suitcases or bags, and they would deliver them.
It happened that Dad and I were going to Calgary shortly for a weekend. I was able to drop off this "luggage" and the team delivered it all to Belize. I really had no great financial expense at all!
And I cleared out some stuff that was just sitting there, getting older!
I look at my stuff now with critical questions; do I really expect to use this again? Is it ready for the garbage or could someone else get some use out of it? If so, it is time to give it away; not just 'own' it.
You may have to work at believing this in the depth of your soul and being, but once you do, it will liberate you for joyful and light-hearted giving. God WILL provide resources for your giving. Stop pitying yourself because you are so poor, or you feel like you have nothing to offer others. You do have at least a bit. If you allow generousity to well up in your heart, and you express a desire to give to someone (or tell the Lord about), you will be surprised at how often God puts into your hands the resources to give.
Furthermore, once you have proved yourself a faithful giver, you will be surprised at how often God places more resources into your hands - out of nowhere, you will say sometimes. Other times your income or knowledge will increase through diligence.
Now, the provisions are not always instant. I have a long list of missionaries and ministries that I pray for and I have longed to support them regularly for a long time. I do not have the financial resources to do that yet - but, God has been turning me into a business woman, and I can see I will be in a position to do so! God has been working valuable changes in me during this process too, so I'm not just marking time!
Truly, as it says in my favourite passage above, (2 Corinthians 9); God is able to make all grace abound to us. Just as He provides seeds to the farmer to sow, which turns into bread to feed many people, in the same way He plants spiritual seeds in our hearts, which makes us become righteous and godly, and out of our lives wells up rich generosity, a desire to give - and then He provides to us the resources out of which we may do our giving with great joy! Our giving will result in others praising and thanking God for us, and He will be glorified from all directions!
It is easy to agree to all this, and in a few days slip back into a "woe is me, I have nothing to give" way of thinking. Therefore, I suggest you put these promises of God where your eyes will see them daily, think about them often, pray about them, and gradually your mindset will change until you know with every part of your being - "yes, I am a Giver and God provides the resources for my giving!"