Looks can be deceiving. In fact, we've confused having an abundant life with how much we spend, rather than by how much we give away. Spending is a sign of consumerism, not abundance. These days we have the ability to buy things with money that we don't have, without anyone else knowing the difference. Just because somebody buys something, it doesn't mean that they could actually afford it or that they used their money to do it. For all we know, the person could be waist-deep in debt, one phone call away from repossession or foreclosure, or on the brink of bankruptcy. It's just too hard to tell, even in our own circles. If you want to see the true face of an abundant life, look for the person that isn't reluctant to give, looks for opportunities to give, and is generous when they give. Giving is the face of abundance, not spending.
When I look back over my short "giving" life, which only started about 6 years ago, I'm completely in awe of how much I've given away compared to how much God has blessed me above and beyond that. I honestly believe that I'm where I am today, financially, because of my generosity and faith in God. While it was easy to give while I had something to give, it was in the tough times that my heart was tested. I remember a time that I had planned on sowing $40, but because I had overspent in some other areas, giving away that $40 would have left me with about $10 for a week. After coming to that realization, I thought about not sowing the seed so that I would have enough money to get me through. Then I remembered God's word that says he gives seed to the sower, and he will also increase my store of seed. So I said God, you know my heart to give, I know that you will provide, and I'm just going to sow in faith. No sooner than I had sown the $40, someone had blessed me with $40 later on the same day. God is crazy faithful! While $40 may not seem like a lot, it was a lot to me that day. I was just glad that I had passed God's test: Did I really believe that I was living in abundance even thought it didn't look like it?
Abundance is also mindset that you must choose to have on a daily basis. If you're having a rough month financially, give something away, even if it's only $1. God will honor that $1 because he sees your heart and the sacrifice. The question is, do you believe that he is your provider and that he will supply? If so, your actions have to show it. You have to acknowledge God's power right where you are. Will you be faithful with a few things so that God can put you in charge of many things? (Matthew 25:21)You don't wait to get rich before you start giving; but rather giving, will lead you to riches. Once giving becomes a habit, you will start to live an abundant life. As surely as spending remains a habit, you will continue to have the face of a consumer. Keeping up with the Joneses will keep you broke. Keeping up with the giving spirit of Jesus will keep you rich.
My challenge to you is to perform an act of abundance this week. Whether you buy someone lunch or sow an extra offering at church, whatever it is. Really think through the process. Think about the faith required beforehand, how the act made you and/or the other person feel afterwards, note any "unexpected" blessings, etc. Keep doing that until it becomes like second nature. Long-term, you will continue to think through the process; but instead, you'll start asking God for opportunities to give instead of hiding from them, and the hesitation will eventually wear off. The face of abundance will look so good on you! So, are you ready for God to give you a financial facelift?
Change requires action!