When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25 ESV)
Have you ever had a restless night in the midst of trying to make a significant decision? I can remember many sleepless nights tossing and turning seeking peace—praying, weeping and often getting up walking the floor. Some of those restless nights revolved around financial issues: the purchase of a home or car, new career opportunities, or how generous I should be to the church or other great ministries. During those hours I would pray and pray and pray even more seeking peace. My preacher dad would often say, “Pray the night through until you find peace!”
Generosity is a decision and should be rooted deeply in prayer. My grandmother would say, “What is in the well comes up in the bucket.” Prayer deepens our well of generosity. Giving comes from deep within us. Praying enables us to connect with God and listen for God’s will.
Joseph was seeking peace about his relationship with Mary. His fiancée, whom he greatly loved, was with child, and he was not the father. Deciding what to do was a life-changing decision and required much prayer. In stressful exhaustion he fell asleep, and an angel (a messenger from God) gave him a path forward. Joseph’s decision had become one of obedience to God.
Generosity begins as a response to God. This response is most often an act of faith. In the end, Joseph acted on faith and because of his faithful response to the call of God, the world was forever changed. The call to generosity begins with prayer and moves through faith. In the end, we are forever changed and, just maybe, the world is too.
Do you remember a decision about generosity in your life? Did the decision require obedience to God’s call? How did God speak to you?
Pray: “God, how much should I keep of your generous blessings in my life?” This is a different kind of prayer. Respond by giving what you don’t keep to impact a life, a church, and a world.
From A Generous Life: 28 Days of Devotion. Copyright © 2019 Abingdon Press. All rights reserved.