Well, I’m guessing you didn’t win the billion-dollar lottery last week. It is fun to dream though, isn’t it? Even knowing that the odds are remarkably against us, when the stakes get that high we all imagine how such a windfall would change our lives. I love watching the media coverage as random folks are interviewed and asked what they would do if their numbers came up. Although the specifics vary, there is usually the typical response that they would give to some charity or help people in need. Seems like people believe that if they had an insanely large amount of money they would certainly be generous with it.
I was watching one of those news pieces last week and the cynical side of me reared its ugly head. I wondered if that person was generous now, even though they’re not a billionaire. I asked myself, “If a person is not generous with what they have, why would they expect themselves to be generous with what they might have?”
I think we’re all like that. I am. We think that if we had a lot more, then we would be generous. If we had enough money to really make a difference, we would certainly be humane enough to make the world a better place. And that’s a good sentiment. What good human being wouldn’t want to use that money for the common good?
As good as that sounds, that thinking may be dangerous. We must resist the belief that my generosity is only meaningful if it’s big. Jesus would beg to differ:
— He compared God’s kingdom to a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds.
— He praised a widow woman who gave only pennies to the temple treasury even as others were giving much more.
— Jesus commended those who only had a cup of cold water to give away, but did it in His name.
— Jesus once received a donation from a boy who had only five loaves of bread and two fish. That little gift that even the disciples doubted could make a difference was enough to feed 5,000.
Jesus seemed to be delighted by people who lived like they won the lottery even when then hadn’t.
The world doesn’t need more lottery winners. The world does need more people who are generous with what they have, even if it is little. So, don’t wait for the Mega Millions, Powerball, or sweepstakes to be a generous person. You can be generous — you need to be generous — with whatever you have. All of us need to live like we’ve won the lottery!
The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much. (Luke 16:10)
Todd Catteau is the preaching minister for the Park Avenue Church of Christ in Denison. He and his wife, Henriann, have four children and two grandsons. He is a native of Massachusetts and loves his Boston sports teams. His writings and links to sermons can be found at http://www.catteau.net