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by Trever Carter

Scripture says that to God our lives are nearly but a mist, a vapor or a spray, that lasts only momentarily before vanishing into thin air. It is so hard for me to imagine that God can compare out lives to a dissipating aerosol spray yet organize them so intricately. God sees all of our entire lives and plans each and every one out. God is infinite, and scripture like this increases my awe factor of our God—He is so big; we are so small.

One of the coolest things for me to do is to sit back and reflect on how God has been working in my life over an extended period of time. Retrospect like this truly allows me to take a step back, widen my viewing lens and see that God has taken this evading mist and turned it into much, much more.  Though weeks, months or even years may pass between one event or another, I love to see how God has connected them and used them to help me grow and to teach me.

One of these moments happened early this week.  Pastor Joe was preaching on the Spiritually Mature Disciple, and the quality he was referencing in particular was that of generosity. A spiritually mature Christian has it encoded into their spirit to be generous, and there is so much joy and freedom that comes from that.

Nearly two years ago, around the New Year of my freshman year, I had a conversation with a mentor about the same thing.  We talked about generosity and how I was to live it out in my life and what it would look like. Be it time, talent or finance, we sought to define a standard of generosity that I could use as a baseline for my life.

Yet it seemed to just sit in the back of my mind and on the pages of a notebook (one I had to search for when I went to look back at what I had written) for the past two years.  I was generous with my talents and definitely with my time, but finance was one that was hard to make tangible and articulate. As a freshman or a sophomore, I was lucky to get some birthday money that was hard to divide between the things I had appropriated. So I prayed for the past few years that God would just continue to instill in me a generous heart.

And that is exactly what He did. Two years later, I now have a job that gives me a sizeable paycheck once every two weeks. With this, I am perfectly capable of dividing it up and upholding my financial standard of generosity—I’m able to save, to give to the church and to spend willingly on friends or family.

And I have found such a freedom and such a joy in it.

It has certainly been proven that it is better to give than to receive, and I have loved the fruits that have come from it. Giving up money and setting it aside was a hard thing for me to do—I worked for it and thought that it should be mine. But after a lot of prayer and a softened heart, I find it exciting and joyful to give away money that was never mine to start but God’s.

So I sit, two years past the initial conversation, and laugh at how God works. I smile with an ironic joy and marvel at how God so intricately weaves everything together and makes all things work out. God’s timing was for me to pray about a soft heart, which makes generosity all the easier and all the more glorious. I thank God for that.

TrevernewheadshotTrever Carter is a junior at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

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