Piggybacking on last week's devotion about generosity, the next six weeks will highlight lessons in generosity we can learn from our Native American brothers and sisters.
Prior to European settlers, Native Americans and Alaska Natives lived in a constant state of generosity within a tribe. Asking, giving, and taking were a continuous circle, wherein everyone took care of everyone else.
For example, if one family had a great hunting trip, they would gladly split up the meat among the families in need, knowing that when they were hungry those same neighbors would feed them.
Side note: It's because of the misunderstanding of this cultural concept of giving and taking equally, that settlers coined the phrase "Indian Giver." They did not understand the fluidity and generosity that Native Americans believed existed between people. The Europeans thought the Natives were asking for their gifts back, but in actuality, they were simply asking for a gift in return.
Lesson #1: Do not ask for anything you aren't willing to give.
God follows this same rule.
What does Jesus ask of us? Our lives - our time, our treasures, our full undivided attention.
Listed out like that, it seems like a lot!
But what has He already given us? His life on the cross, time already done for our sins, every blessing we've ever received, His undivided attention to even the most minute details of our lives.
God has never asked for more than He has already given us.
We don't need to repay God for our redemption and eternal life but out of those gifts grows thankfulness and generosity and a desire to return the favor to others.
In Native communities, generosity wasn't always directly give and take. It wasn't always: one hunt I give to you, the next hunt you give to me. But the understanding was the same, I give knowing that I will be provided for when I need it.
As a Christian, we give to others knowing that God will always provide for our needs. Jesus said:
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?... So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:26, 31-33 NLT)
As God calls you to give this season, remember that He would never ask for more than He is willing to give you, whether on this earth or in our heavenly home.
When God places a burden on your heart, when you see a need, respond with the confidence that He will take care of the rest.