READ Nehemiah 5:14-19
“Mine,” one of the first words a toddler learns to say. I’m not sure many of us outgrow this phase of life. Our world is full of people grabbing for what is ‘rightfully theirs’.
In Nehemiah’s day it was no different. Before Nehemiah takes his place as governor many others sat in his seat of power. As governor they were entitled to tax the people for their salary, but the men before Nehemiah had taken more than their due, crushing the people financially. Nehemiah had a different spirit. He didn’t exploit the people; in fact he didn’t even take what he was owed. Instead he gave! He regularly had 150 people for dinner plus extra visitors. I know how expensive the food bill is for a family of 4 so I can’t imagine the costs involved with this feeding program.
Nehemiah was working hard so why didn’t he take what he was owed? And how was he able to be so generous? Well he explained it like this, “Out of reverence for God I did not act like that.” Nehemiah didn’t have his eyes fixed on his bank balance; he had his eyes fixed on God.
This is the ultimate lesson in generosity. You see greed flows from a poor view of God the father. We hold on to things because we feel we are owed or because we are afraid that if we don’t, we won’t have enough. One look at him dispels both myths.
When we look at what God has already given us through his son Jesus, we are reminded that even if we never get another thing from his hand, he has already given us much more than we deserve. Anything on top of that is simply a display of the outrageous generosity of God.
And a look at this generosity reminds us we are not in the hands of a miser, but rather an extravagant giver of good things. We cannot out-give him, so we have no need to fear lack.
Take a good look at him today. Drink him in and feel the chains of greed crack apart under the power of generosity.
Lord, fix my eyes on your lavish goodness so I may reflect you well. Amen.