“You Can’t Out-give God”

My grams taught me a lot—sometimes by what she said, more often by how she lived. A truism she shared with regularity was, “You can’t out-give God.” Any time we talked about giving of any sort, she would remind me of this, and then I would hear again part of her story of God’s generosity in her life and how she and gramps responded in kind.

A few short years from retirement they sold everything—the farm they had so painstakingly built, the new living room furniture, everything—and headed overseas to serve missionaries’ children at a boarding school. (Grams always reminded us at this point  in the story what a gift it was that God didn’t see them as too old or otherwise unqualified to be part of his kingdom-building team.) They thought they would use the money from the sale of their property to finance their mission’s training and travel, but instead they gave most of it away to others who were a step ahead of them en-route to overseas ministries. By the time they traveled to Venezuela their earthly wealth was spent, and they had the promised support of a few well-intentioned, albeit tiny churches in the Ohio Valley to live on.

Throughout their years of missionary service, Grams and Gramps generously gave of their time, and resources—yes, the meager financial support that came from those dedicate churches, seemed to multiply in their stewardship. Serving meals to strangers and friends, hosting travelers in their homes, giving financially to those in sudden need, and sharing extravagantly during the holidays with family and friends alike, Gram and Gramps lived a generous life.  So when Grams told me, “You can’t out-give God.” I was compelled to listen.

Grams loved pretty things. She had beautiful china with delicate blue trim and fancy cut crystal stemware right in the middle of the jungle. But she did not have these items so they could sit in a china cabinet. Grams loved to use them to host tea parties and special dinners. She shared what she had until she gave it away. That’s just the way Grams lived.

Grams and Gramps financially supported each family member who went into missionary service. And they always seemed to have money left over to help when a need arose in their church or among their friends. I honestly don’t know how they always found a way to help. After all they were missionaries living by faith. The only answer I come to is Grams’s own words, “You can’t out-give God.”

Grams and Gramps gave away all they had serving in faith for more than 30 years. Last year when Grams went to heaven, her last generous gift was to leave a small financial inheritance for each of their children. This week my family and I are vacationing in the mountains of Tennessee, thanks to my Grams’s generosity. But the honest truth is, we are vacationing because of the extravagant, generous provision of our God. Because Grams is right, “You can’t out-give God.”

Just Try!


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