We started a month long series on what it means to live generously. We looked at God as the source of all generosity. God is inherently extravagantly generous-- the opposite of stingy and frugal. In the story of the prodigal son we often focus on the son. The story however can, and maybe is best read with a focus on the Father. The term prodigal has become a negative term for most of us as it is associated with the son's extravagant waste of his inheritance. But when we flip the story's focus to the Father we see "prodigal" in a whole new light. Prodigal is defined as "having or giving something on a lavish scale." This is a picture of the father in the story who gives extravagantly to both his sons. It is also the picture of our heavenly father, who recklessly and with abandon graces our lives with His generosity. All of life is a gift - we come into this life with nothing and we will leave with nothing. Everything in between is a gift. We truly "own" nothing. Lucky for us it is God's nature to be lavish. From the grains of the earth to the cars we drive -- it is all gift.
God, like the crazy farmer in Matthew 13, spreads His word (Himself) generously even in places that don't make sense (like in rocky soil or hard-hearted people) . It seems that God doesn't use the same scale or standards that we do. He sees reality from a different perspective, a perspective of grace and generosity. When we focus on the farmer (a picture of God in this story) it is the giving (the sowing of the seed) that is most important. Likewise, God repeatedly in our lives invites us into relationship with Him. He sows Himself in the sunrise, in the smile of a co-worker, in flower of the field, the wag of a dog's tail, in the argument, in the invitation to help the poor. Over and over again He invites us to see Him, to respond to Him, to journey with Him throughout the day.
The challenge for us is to be honest, open and willing with where we are spiritually. Do we really believe that God is lavishly generous to us personally? If we believe and embrace God's generosity we will become generous in our own lives. What we sow in our thoughts/heart about God's nature, we will reap in our lives. As we "see" God's generosity over abounding in our lives we become more generous to those around us. We lose our need to control, horde and be stingy. The beauty of God is that even when we are stingy, controlling or hording, He soon gives us another invitation to become aware of His generosity and invites us to share His abundance with ourselves and others.
By Babs May-Clark