Alexander the Great had a general whose daughter was getting married. Alexander valued this soldier greatly and offered to pay for the wedding. When the general gave Alexander’s steward the bill, it was absolutely enormous. The steward came to Alexander and named the sum. To his surprise Alexander smiled and said, “Pay it! Don’t you see–by asking me for such an enormous sum he does me great honor. He shows that he believes I am both rich and generous.” (Tim Keller in The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World).
“He believes that I am both rich and generous.”
Do you believe this about God? Most of us probably believe he is rich. But do we believe he is generous?
Do you think of God as generous? When my kids were little, one day my wife Kristi was in Walmart with our young daughter and her little friend. Apparently our daughter had been asking Kristi to buy her some things and she had said no. Kristi heard her say to her friend, “My mom never buys me anything but my dad gets me ANYTHING I WANT! Apparently, my daughter thought I was both rich and generous.
Jesus said “If you who are evil give good gifts to our children HOW MUCH MORE will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask.”
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 TI 6.17
Our God doesn’t merely provide us with our basic needs. He RICHLY provides us with EVERYTHING to enjoy.
We can see God’s lavish, generous nature by looking at the creation:
Scientists say there are 100 billion observable galaxies – 100 billion GALAXIES – each galaxy has hundreds of billions of stars. God has created beauty all around us as far as the eye can see. Look at our world – thousands of kinds of trees, fruit, flowers, sunsets, lavish beauty everywhere – mountains, lakes, redwood forests, beaches, changing seasons.
God could have made the world in black and white. He could have created one kind of food. Instead he made luna moths and mimosa trees and jungles and deserts and garden spiders and red-winged blackbirds and ring-necked snakes. God didn’t make a strictly utilitarian world. He decorated it with weeping willows and tiger lilies.
There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world. 35,000+ spiders, 9,956 species of birds (not 9,955 – how do they know this? Is there a master list somewhere?) Over 4,675 lizard species, 400,000 flowering plants, 7,500 varieties of apples
God gives the gifts of friends, the gift of marriage, children (children are a gift from the Lord – sometimes we can forget that), grandchildren. Homes, food, electricity, indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning, protection. The gift of laughter, joy, music, art, sports, hunting, cooking, pets (well, maybe not dogs – just kidding!), books, so many things that bring us joy. Technology – video games! Was recently talking to a couple of my friends, Erich and Justin, who told me how much joy they get out of video games – they put on headsets and play them with each other while in their own homes. And they also get a lot of joy playing video games with their kids. Our God is so lavish! 10,000 reasons for my heart to find!
Our God is both rich and generous. So set your hope on him and not this world. Ask him to great things for you and for his own glory. He loves to save the worst of sinners and make them like his son. He loves to glorify himself by doing more than we can think or ask. Nothing is impossible to our gracious God. He loves to bless his children. After all, he gave the greatest gift he could ever give, his own Son. Our heavenly Father loves to give good things to his children.