Recently I was so excited to pick up Jeff Anderson’s book “Divine Applause.” It is a much-needed work that provides masterful insights on the three chords Jesus braids together: giving, fasting, and prayer. If there is one book that expresses the heart behind Generosity by Lifeway, then it is this work. If pastors want to break through the barrier of silence on money or the pressure of the next fundraising campaign, this book is their key. Generosity is about discipleship, and how it is so good for the giver.
Here is a quick synopsis for some perspective. Jesus promotes three secret habits that: God notices, please God, and propel our spiritual lives toward break-through faith moments. They are contained in Matthew 6: giving, fasting, and prayer.
Why do I believe this work is important for followers of Christ?
- Giving can be motivated by how much it pleases God. Removing the duty, law, and painful self-sacrificing popular motivations is extremely helpful to the giver. Giving is good for us, and it releases God’s pleasure and rewards to us.
- Giving is in God’s DNA, when we learn to release giving in our lives it becomes extremely catalytic for our spiritual growth. Studies show, giving people are healthier and happier. They grow more, live with more purpose, and make bigger impacts on those around them. Every church would multiply its culture and impact exponentially if generosity was a core pursuit. Literally speaking, every ministry would benefit beyond measure!
- Giving, fasting, and prayer all place us in a position of committed focus, as well as receiving the focused attention of God. These three habits are personal choices that remove different items from being in charge of our lives during a specific season. They allow us a greater focus upon God, which results in God noticing us in pleasurable ways. Basking in God’s pleasure is very empowering.
- Giving is unleashed when we practice fasting and prayer. I am a big advocate of the limitations of the tithing concept. It can lead to unnecessary guilt, as well as assumed accomplishment. God’s desire is that we break through the tithing conversation and live as people who are sensitive and responsive to His voice far beyond the tithe. Being a generous person is very different than being a tither. One can reach its limits quickly while the other is never finished with the mission.
- Giving, fasting, and prayer can all be measured spiritual activities. Amounts do actually matter to God. We either do them, or we do not. The more meaningful they are to us, the more meaningful they are to God. You can’t fake giving, fasting, and prayer. You can only unleash them.
So I want to encourage you to pick up Jeff’s book on Divine Applause. Tune into our upcoming podcast with Jeff. You can also be mentored by Jeff virtually via Generosity by Lifeway. Check out his resources and others here.