Contagious Generosity

Jeannie Blackmer

The flames, fueled by fierce winds, raced towards our home. With only minutes to evacuate, my husband and I grabbed our dog and ran out the front door to our car. Ash rained down on us, the sickening smell of smoke filled our nostrils, and the wind whipped my hair around my face as I closed the car door. We raced down our long driveway trying to decide where to go. We ended up driving to a parking lot below our house where we watched flames engulf our home. We cried as we called family and friends. Then we drove to my son’s condo to spend the night. I went into the bathroom to shower and when I looked in the mirror, I saw black smudges on my face and ash in the corners of my eyes. Shocked, yet grateful to be safe, I rinsed off.  

When I went back downstairs, I heard voices. One of my friends and her husband had come bearing gifts. A girlfriend’s prayer group I’ve been in for 15 years pooled their money and bought us everything we needed for the next few days – clothes, shoes, underwear, coats, toothbrushes, a hairbrush, and even a little makeup. The kindness wrecked me. I let the tears flow. Another friend owned a furnished rental home that was vacant. We moved into it the next day. When we walked in, we found the cupboards and fridge stocked with food and drinks. For the next few months, we experienced unbelievable generosity. People sent us checks, boxes of clothes, gift cards and brought meals.  

A few weeks after the fire, I wrote in my journal what God was teaching me. One, our earthly tent will be destroyed. Our “tent” was destroyed, and we were okay. Through others, God provided everything we needed.  

But we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV 

Two, life does not consist of the abundance of possessions. Losing all our earthly possessions was hard but so much of what we had was just stuff. The items with meaning attached, such as photos, were the toughest to lose. But, friends and family have sent us photos we thought we would never see again.  

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. Luke 12:15 NIV 

Three, be rich towards God. Jesus tells us not to store up treasures for ourselves. He wants us to give without worry and trust he is in control.  

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.Luke 12:20-21 NIV 

After being a recipient of generosity, I give more freely because I know the impact it has on those who are in need. And I can confidently say you can’t out give God.  


  • Why do you think Jesus told us not to store up riches for ourselves? 
  • How can you be rich towards God today? 

Jeannie Blackmer (