The Futility of Outgiving

My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

My daughter’s boyfriend’s mom and step-dad (I’ll reference them as “D” and “J”) are among the most hospitable people I’ve ever known. The first time we met, the door to their house and heart swung wide open.

Over the past several months, D and J have experienced several difficulties. They are in generally good health, but J dealt with nagging post-op complications associated with a rotator cuff surgery. Following that, he required several weeks of IV antibiotics for a mystery bacteria the docs couldn’t explain.

Then … COVID.

They both got it.

Once they were free from quarantine, I was prompted by the Spirit’s whisper to make a large pot of warm chili and bake a loaf of whole wheat bread and deliver it to them.

What I’d anticipated to be a quick drop off and hello resulted in an enthusiastic invitation to sit and stay awhile. As early evening approached, she urged me to join them for a large, homemade pizza they’d already prepared earlier for dinner. The chili and bread were a welcome addition.

Well, I was hungry. And that did sound delicious. And the invite pulsed with sincerity.

So I agreed.

Within minutes of cozying up to the large island in the kitchen, she’d arranged a placemat before me and set a plate and flatware aside it.

In an unexpected turn of intention, I’d become the happy recipient of rich hospitality.

Stomach full, I’d meant to bless them.

But they’d out-blessed me.

Toting a substantial amount of leftover pizza and a bag of frosted cookies to the car, I puzzled over how the events had unfolded. Out of obedience, I’d invested time and resources to make a meal and made the 45 minute trek to be the hands and feet of Jesus and, yet, was returning with food.

God gently reminded me,

You can’t out-give me.

We come bearing our offerings, funding good causes, sparing time to those in need and, yet, God sets a place for us at the table, a hearty invitation to come, dine and eat.

Abundance.

He is the source of everything, both visible and invisible. Anything I give originated—and is made possible—by his unlimited provision in the first place.

glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Time? He sustains my every breath.

Stuff? He created it.

Money? He owns and distributes it where needed.

Nourishment? He made all that is edible and necessary for life.

Once I put an end to a futile game of one-upmanship or foolish efforts to out give others, I am free to humbly thank God for his generous outpouring of provision that enables me to give in the first place.

What’s better, God knows our need and provides before we even ask.

When have you received much more than you gave in time or resources? I’d love to hear about it!

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✏️Here’s the talk I gave with a dear friend of mine last Tuesday, Shining Your Light in Brokenness. May it encourage you in seasons of hardship and give you proper perspective.


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