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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people."—Matthew 14:19 (NLT)
Brantley Foster, a recent college grad, moved to New York City looking to take the business world by storm. But before starting his first day of work, he got laid off after his new employer was taken over by a rival business.
After several failed interviews, Brantley ended up getting a job in the mailroom. While there, he noticed an empty office in the building. Using his knowledge and company access, he created a new identity for himself as new executive Carlton Whitfield and became a huge success. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is the plot of Michael J. Fox’s 1987 hit, The Secret to My Success.
There are a lot of books, articles, movies, motivational speakers, and reality shows that claim to have the secret to success, the secret to happiness, the secret to getting rich, or the secret to love. However, anyone who has tried to achieve something that requires as much dedication, commitment, and hard work as finding love or experiencing sustained happiness knows there’s no quick-fix secret to it.
There is; however, a secret to generous living. It’s revealed to us here in Matthew 14:19! In this passage, Jesus is about to multiply five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000+ people. But before He hands the food to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people, He “looked up toward heaven, and blessed [it].”
That right there is the secret to living a life of true generosity. It’s acknowledging the generosity of God and responding with generosity toward others. It’s having faith that God can take our offering, no matter how big or small it may be, and multiply what we give in amazing and unexpected ways. And it’s trusting that our Father will provide for us what we need as we are moved by the Spirit to sacrificial generosity.
If you’re trying to figure out how to be generous, how to start living a life of generosity, start by looking to heaven! Start by recognizing that every “generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17 HCSB). Once you consistently begin to do that, once you begin to recognize the generosity of God in your life and trust that He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than you can ask, think, or imagine, then you can respond by lavishing others with the generosity of Christ.
DIG: Read Matthew 14:13–21.
DISCOVER: How have you seen God multiply your gifts or the gifts of others?
DISPLAY: Begin to acknowledge the Father for all His blessings and generous gifts, and ask Him to daily mold you into a person who reflects this to others. Then, consider the ways you can be generous to the people around you every day.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.