It happened more than once. As a young boy, I would often wake up on a summer morning to a big watermelon on our front porch with my name on it. I had no idea of its source.
When I got older, my pastor father told me that these had always given by Mr. Kidwell. “He’s the most generous man I’ve ever known,” Dad would say. And he would quote what Mr. Kidwell had often told him: “God blesses a channel, not a reservoir.”
This principle is counterintuitive. When it comes to our money, the natural thought is to hold it tightly for ourselves. This might be accurate if it weren’t for the fact that we were made in the image of God and being restored to that image by grace.
The more we mature in Christ, the more we discover that God is 100% generous. In fact, He is the Author of generosity. He wants us to become as He is through relaxing our grip on the possessions He entrusts to us in this life.
The Macedonian Example
The Macedonian believers had captured this truth well. They gave with such abandonment and joy that they were used as an everlasting example of generosity:
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NASB).
The Expanding Opportunity
Since God designed all things, it follows that His system would not punish but reward those who give. And it rewards them for a generosity purpose. Those who are generous find themselves able to give more and more—an expanded channel.
This is not the “biblical secret on how to become a millionaire,” as some want to believe. It is the principle that God owns all the riches in the world, and He wants His resources in circulation to bless us, bless others, and bring glory to God by advancing the mission of Christ.
So Paul, in 2 Corinthians 8–9, gives the incredible story of the Macedonian Christians who gave out of their poverty. God not only used their gift but increased their capacity for giving.
Does this mean that God increased their “net worth” on this earth? Not necessarily. Remember, they were a channel, not a reservoir. Therefore, at any given time they may not have possessed any more than they ever had. It just flowed through.
Based on their experience, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to follow their example and give generously. And here is the promise (notice the power of every phrase):
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all (1 Corinthians 9:10-14).
Those who see their lives as a channel through which God and His life can flow discover not only their purpose, but the pathway to joy. There is nothing more thrilling than blessing others. And with this joy comes ultimate reward from our generous God.
Father, thank You that You own everything! Thank You for Your perfectly generous heart. Open my eyes to opportunities for generosity today. Use me as Your channel to bless others so You can be clearly seen.