Deuteronomy 15:7-11 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 8 Rather, be OPENHANDED and freely lend them whatever they need. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be OPENHANDED toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
Living openhanded. What an exquisite and rewarding challenge. God, through Moses, instructed the people of God about generosity and compassion for others. He said that an openhanded approach is tied to a person’s heart. Hardheartedness, verse 7, will result in tightfistedness. Generous giving, verse 10, comes from a heart that isn’t a reluctant, stingy or “grudging” heart.
Here in Deuteronomy 15, generosity is blessed by God. Stinginess is considered wicked and sinful. Living openhanded can be a challenge for many people. Giving to the work of the Lord, and doing it generously, with a desire to be a blessing, can be difficult. It is clear to me that our desire and willingness to give or our need to hoard our resources, reveals something about the condition of our hearts.
The Bible helps us understand that all of our resources are to be stewarded/shared under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Just as resources are shared in a nuclear family, so too, are resources shared in the Family of God. After all, nothing we have is ours. It is on loan from God and is to be a tool to point others to the generous nature of God.
Stinginess, tightfistedness will keep a person from being used of God. If you are truly seeking to follow Christ, your desire will be for Him to use you. There is no greater thrill than knowing that God has used something you have shared or said or done to help someone see Him more clearly and to experience Him more fully. Nothing. It is the greatest satisfaction I have in life.
Hardhearted people, people who are focused only on self and not on the Kingdom of God, aren’t going to be in a heart-position to be used of God. Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and that everything else in our own lives will line up or fall into place. The Kingdom of God is about the life and ministry of Jesus being offered to every person we come into contact with. Never once do we read in the Gospels that Jesus lived with a closed fist. Jesus gave to others freely. He touched others freely.
If you live with a stingy spirit, the Spirit of God won’t be able to prompt you and use you when others need help. Not only will God tap someone else, but someone else will get the blessing you would have gotten if you weren’t so preoccupied with yourself.
Look at Deuteronomy 15:10 again, Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
Your generosity with others results in a comprehensive blessing for yourself! Everything you put your hand to, will be blessed of God. I’ll tell you this, You don’t want to miss the blessing of God. God’s blessing for you is better than anything you could clench for yourself.
Here is the principle: You cannot REACH out in compassion with a closed hand. You cannot RECEIVE God’s blessings with a closed hand. Those are the two points to this message. Your ability to receive God’s blessings will be tied, in part, to your heart, to your willingness to reach others for the Kingdom. In other words, you reap what you sow. You receive as you give. II Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” You cannot deny the correlation between generosity and the abundant blessings of God.
Does your life reflect that the needs of others move you to action? Are you living with an open hand?
I like the poem by Martha Snell Nicholson that says:
One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth’s highways, grieving,
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift those empty hands to Me!”
So I held my hands toward Heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!
Ask God to cultivate a heart of compassion in you. Ask Him to help you open your hands so that He can fill them with more resources that can be used to bless other people.