Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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The Father's Generosity


By Dennis Pollock

Our Heavenly Father is generous! While His primary goal for His children has never been the accumulation of wealth and material possessions, neither is He stingy and unwilling to provide us with all our needs: physical, emotional and spiritual. As Jesus taught the multitudes of Israel, He referred again and again to the Father in Heaven, and declared Him to be kind, generous, and very much willing to give good things to those who ask Him. He feeds the birds, clothes the lilies, and watches over the sparrows. If we put His kingdom first in our lives, our needs will be guaranteed. We are to go through life without worry, knowing that this caring, watchful Father will see to it that we have all that we need.

Scriptural evidence to the munificence of our Creator abounds.  The most famous chapter in the Old Testament begins by asserting God's liberality: "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want (lack)" (Psalm 23:1). David testifies that he will never lack life's necessities because of the One he has chosen as his Shepherd. He does not say, "I am talented, and therefore will never lack," or "I am ambitious and will never have to do without," or "I am smart, so I'll always have everything I need." No, David's confidence is in the Lord. He has a faithful Shepherd who is not stingy; he will not lack.

There are 150 Psalms in the Bible, but none of the others have ever attained anything close to the popularity of Psalm 23. Why is this? Why is this particular Psalm the one read at funerals, memorized in Sunday school classes, and well known to nearly every Christian of every nation? Why aren't we as familiar with the 88th Psalm or the 54th Psalm or the 122nd Psalm? Why the 23rd Psalm? The answer is that it is in the 23rd Psalm that we find one declaration after another about the generosity, protection, and kindness of the Lord. Certainly, we find these things in other places, but nowhere in the Old Testament is it said any better and in such a concentrated form. This God who struck the firstborn of the Egyptians dead in a moment, who blazed with fire on the top of Mount Sinai, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whose voice caused such terror that the Israelites begged Moses to go and talk with Him on their behalf – this same God is called "My Shepherd" by David. He leads His people to still waters and green pastures; He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death, comforting us and keeping us from harm. He causes goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our lives.

Divine Extravagance

Perhaps the most extravagant declaration of the psalm is found in verse five: "You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over." I have always been intrigued by this statement. We speak about God meeting our needs, but often in our minds this has to do with the required minimum. Enough food, enough money, enough clothes, and enough encouragement for us to get through another day, or another week, or month, or year. The term that describes this is "just getting by." While getting by is a whole lot better than not getting by, it cannot compare with "more than enough." When David says his cup runs over, he is saying that he is not just getting by; he has more than he needs. Normally when we think about the contents of a glass, we think of it as empty, partially full, or completely full. We rarely think about a glass that is more than full. Yet this is what David was describing. His glass was more than full – it was running over.

This theme of abundance runs throughout the Scriptures. In Luke Jesus tells us that as we give to God and others, it will be given to us "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over…" Here again we have the term "running over." This implies having more than we need, more than we planned on, more perhaps than we even wanted. In this case Jesus compares the provision of the Father to a jar of grain that is pushed down and shaken so that every possible space is filled, and then the grain keeps on being poured until it runs over the sides of the jar onto the ground. That may sound a little wasteful, but one thing is for sure: whoever is doing the pouring is not stingy!

Darlene Rose

During pre-World War II days, Darlene Rose was a missionary to New Guinea. When the Japanese conquered the nation, Darlene was put in a prison camp as a subversive. After spending time in the regular prison, she was transferred to a special prison for interrogation of especially “dangerous” prisoners. There she suffered from near starvation, infections, filth, and loneliness. One day, looking out the window of her isolation cell, she saw one of the prisoners in the prison yard reaching through the fence and helping herself to a bunch of bananas that came from a banana tree which grew just outside the compound. Darlene immediately thought how sweet it would be to eat a banana and prayed that the Lord would somehow get one to her in her solitary confinement. But she no sooner prayed for a banana than she began to realize just what an impossibility this would be. She wasn’t allowed outside her cell, and who would bring it to her? It just could not happen, and she apologized to God for making such an outlandish request.

Not long afterwards, the camp commander from the prison where she had previously been held came there, and upon hearing where Darlene was, came to her cell to check on her. For some reason he seemed to like her, and when he saw her terribly emaciated condition, he excused himself. Later some workers came to her cell. They had been instructed to bring her a banana. Actually, they brought her 92 bananas. Darlene was astounded and shoving the huge bunch of bananas to one corner of the room, she had a little talk with God. This time she apologized for her lack of faith, in not believing that the Almighty Creator could give her even one banana. This huge store of bananas provided her desperately needed nutrition and calories and helped sustain her and strengthen her for that season. In time Japan surrendered and Darlene returned home with a new perspective on the God who gives “exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine.”

In Malachi God tells Israel to bring their tithes into the storehouse, and prove Him, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it." Once again, we have the same concept – God giving His people more than they ask, expect, or need, so much that they have no room to store the abundant harvest He will provide.

When Jesus was ministering in a remote area, toward the end of the day His disciples asked Him to send the large crowds away so that they could get themselves something to eat in the nearby towns. Our Lord told them that they should provide the people with food. They were shocked and told Him they had nothing more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. Jesus told the disciples to organize the crowd into groups of fifty (I love it that Jesus liked order and organization!). Then after blessing the food, He instructed them to distribute the loaves and fish. Miraculously, the fish and loaves never ran out. We have all heard about this, but many don't consider that there is something rather peculiar about this miracle.

More Than Enough

It would seem a little neater had Jesus multiplied the bread and fish to exactly fill the needs and bellies of the five thousand men – plus the women and children who were there. It would have been kind of cool had the final pieces of bread and fish filled the plate of the very last man served. But such was not the case. When the last man was served, they discovered that there was food left over – in fact a lot of food left over. The Bible tells us that twelve baskets of leftover fragments were gathered up. What was going on here? Was Jesus unable to count the crowd and therefore He made more food than was needed? No, this was not a counting problem. Jesus, being one with His Heavenly Father was doing things as His Father does. He was giving the people the running over cup, the jar pressed down, shaken together and running over. He was pouring out a blessing that the stomachs of the people did not have enough room to receive!

Our God is a God of abundance! Giving His children just enough to get by is not His method of operation. But where some have missed it is in assuming that this abundance will always be manifested in dollars (or Ferraris or mansions). As our head is anointed with oil (in other words, as we are filled with the Holy Spirit) we will at some point see the abundance of heaven. But we will not all become millionaires. For sure, our financial needs will be met but God does not call most of His children to possess great wealth. The apostle Paul was rich in the power of the Holy Spirit, rich in spiritual children, rich in the spiritual gifts of healing, evangelism, and church-building, but he was far from a rich man in financial terms. He had seasons of scarcity and seasons of physical prosperity, and writes to the Philippians, "Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

To do ministry well requires resources. The spiritual resources are far and away the most important, but they are not the only resources we need. We also need emotional resources, skills, knowledge, often equipment, and usually money. Of course, we can always walk down the street and talk to people about Jesus, but if we go much further than that, we are going to need some things. I have a favorite verse that promises God's supply of all that we need for effective ministry. It is found in 2nd Corinthians 9 where Paul declares, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).

“All Grace”

I have reminded the Lord of this promise again and again. I love the "alls" in this verse. God doesn't just make some grace abound toward us, He makes all grace. We don't just get some sufficiency for some things, but we are given all sufficiency in all things. And we will have an abundance for every good work! Here again is the promise of the running over cup.

Jesus Christ is the channel through which the abundance of heaven flows into our lives. It is not just God supplying all our needs; it is God supplying all our needs by Christ Jesus. In Christ we are forgiven, in Him we are justified and blameless in the sight of God, and in Him we have an abundance for every good work. And the Scriptures tell us that in the ages to come God will "show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." If you are in Christ, and you think God is generous now (and He is), wait until you discover what He has for you in the ages to come. The Bible assures us, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."



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