I confess that I struggle with generosity. It just doesn’t come easily for me. I have to practice it if I ever hope to be great at it, and I do hope to one day be great at it. (Thank you for giving me a vision for that, Dave Ramsey!)
So with that said, I was struck recently by the story of a woman named Catherine who works at a small bakery in Wichita, Kansas. Catherine is not a wealthy woman, but she is well known to the local patrons who come to see her smile as much as they come to have coffee and a bagel. When Catherine’s car started to break down and need expensive repairs, it was evident that she would need to begin saving for a new car.
It took her a while, but Catherine eventually managed to save up $5000 towards a new car. One day, a regular patron came in and asked how she was coming along on saving up for her car. Catherine casually replied, “Oh, I gave it all away.” Catherine proceeded to explain how she heard about a local widow in need, so Catherine simply gave the widow the $5000 she had been saving for her car.
Someone actually made a video about Catherine’s story, and I wanted to share it with you, then make a couple of observations.
What a powerful story! Catherine’s faith in God’s ability to provide just dumbfounds me, and I want to make an important point about it: Her trust in God’s ability to provide is not at all misplaced. She trusted Him to provide for her, and He did. In a big way. And did you happen to notice her license plate? It says “J JIREH”, or “Jehovah Jireh”, which is Hebrew for “the Lord will provide.”
Catherine’s perspective is so amazing that I think it is worth highlighting some great points she makes in the video about her perspective on giving.
Her Generosity Was Radically Selfless
In the video, Catherine says, “I mean, I cannot give what I don’t have, so I just gave what I had.”
While the actual giving of the $5000 didn’t come so easy, the logic for it apparently did. Her default posture is that of generosity…the only question is what she will be able to give. Amazing.
She Understands That God Owns It All
When she sees her new car, Catherine, through tears, says, ”I knew God had many cars, but I didn’t know he had a new one for me.”
She understands that God owns it all. Just as Psalm 50:10 says, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He also owns the cars on a thousand car lots.
She Gave Because Christ Did
What motivates radical generosity like Catherine’s? Here is how she answers that question: ”We don’t give in order to receive. We give because it is the nature of Jesus Christ. He gave us his life.”
Simply put, it is Jesus Christ’s radical generosity that inspired hers. And Catherine’s generosity inspired others. The story of their generosity inspired me, and now I hope it inspires you, too.
Lord, thank you for giving Catherine one of your new cars. Help me to understand radical generosity like hers. Like the widow you saw give everything she had when she tithed in the temple courtyard that day, help me to also understand that you own it all. All I have is yours. While that is true whether I believe it or not, empower me by your Spirit to embrace that truth so that it radically affects my actions. I want to bring you greater glory. Make me a more generous person, Lord. I just want to be like you. In Christ’s name, and for His glory. Amen.