“…but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31 NLT

“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 (NLT)

It was during the Great Depression, which lasted from about 1929-1939. In the US the unemployment rate rose to almost 25% and there was no such thing as an unemployment check. People who kept their jobs had to accept lower wages, farmers lost their farms, food was in short supply and banks failed. It was a very hard time.

Escondido and its surrounding areas were in the throes of the crisis as well. How could believers who were just as poor or needy as everyone else be generous and thus honor God? Let me tell you the story of one such family who lived off Nutmeg street on 40 acres of land with a few buildings, no electricity, no piped water, no phone, one well, and an outhouse! Robert and Wilhelmine Nielsen loved the Lord with every fiber of their being and wanted their lives to honor God. Robert had been sent out from the east coast on one of the infamous orphan trains and, knowing what being an orphan was like, he had a heart to help orphaned and needy children. His loving wife was of the same heart! They began fostering children often having 10-12 at their home including their own 4 children. During the depression years, parents would ask the Nielsen’s to care for their children while they tried to regain stability. Sometimes the Nielsen’s had as many as 25 children staying with them and very little, if any, financial support. The children stayed for weeks or months; boys slept in a room in the barn, and girls slept in the small farmhouse. The kids had school in a room in the barn, went to church, played, helped, ate, had chores, and felt secure. God was honored! As you can imagine, many came to Christ and lives were transformed because of believers who were generous.

Clearly, generosity isn’t just about money although it certainly is an element of provision for needs. Being generous can take lots of forms. It is patience, understanding, forgiveness, and compassion! It is giving time out of a busy day to listen to hurting people. It is sitting with someone who hurts and doesn’t need words, just presence. It is dropping a sack of groceries at the front door for a family that can’t buy anything. It is smiling at people who all are made in God’s image. It might be an encouraging word to a harried mom in a store with a crying child.

How does this honor God? It is how we say back to God, that we remember when He did those things for us. “God, I remember when my sister died, and You comforted me through believers.”

“God, I remember when I was in despair and Your Word brought me peace and hope.” “God, I remember when_______________.” You can fill in that blank! Linger a while with that.

You know God doesn’t need us to bring Him honor. He is complete! But I think it makes Him smile when we are generous to ‘one of the least’ of these. This week let’s be generous in as many ways as we can and honor Him.

Francie Overstreet

Subscribe to the Daily Fill