“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” – 1 Timothy 6:17-18
Some people measure greatness by the money they take home and some people put their hope in wealth. However, I am hoping to live my life valuing many things above money. Riches themselves are not necessarily evil, but the value we place on them can lead to our undoing. We need to learn to put our hope in God instead.
To counteract greed, we need to learn to become generous. I read a book a few years ago called I Like Giving by Brad Formsma. I always thought of myself as a decent giver, but reading this book showed me a lot of ways that I could improve my giving and gave me some unique ideas I had not thought of before. The book provides several stories of when someone gave something to someone monetarily or through their time. It also includes some studies about happiness and explains that people were generally happy when they gave, even if it was a small amount rather than kept for themselves. One of my favorite lines in the book is "When you give to others and they seem to waste it, it's discouraging, but loving someone else never goes to waste. Of course, if you feel your generosity is being abused or wasted, then it is good and right to reevaluate. If it is a stranger, then continue on your way. If it is a family member or someone in your community, give the gift of forgiveness, and allow it to inform your wisdom for future giving, but don't stop giving. Don't let one or two bad experiences rob you of the joy." I think that I am reluctant to give sometimes because I am worried someone will spend money on something that I would not necessarily spend money on. This book helped realize that the act of giving is a form of love and no matter what happens I should continue to give. If you are looking for something new to try when it comes to giving, check this book out from the library.
Prayer: Dear God, Continue to show us in our daily life how to be more generous with others and to put our hope in you rather than material things. Amen.
About Melissa Hall Melissa became a member of St. Thomas UMC four years ago. She is married to Nathan and they have a four-year-old daughter named Everly.