...even in a "famine."
I know that I've talked - I mean written a lot about the gift of giving, the grace of giving* etc. However, these 2 verses struck a different chord with me.
Genesis 43:1, 11 1Now the famine was still severe in the land. 11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift - a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. (NIV)Reading this, it's obvious that Israel (pka Jacob), knew the importance of giving quality gifts.
It's so easy to look at our situation and see what we don't have - without realizing what we have. Israel realized that in order to get what he needed, he had to give up some of what they had. Now he didn't say "Take something - anything - and go." He was specific on the items & their quality.
We see a similar situation - though for a different purpose - in the New Testament
2 Corinthians 8: 1-7 - And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace God gave the churches in Macedonia [1:16]. 2 Although they have been tested by great troubles [trials; tribulation] and are very poor, they gave much because of their great joy [their deep poverty and abundant joy overflowed into rich generosity]. 3 I can tell you [testify] that they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford. No one told them to do it. 4 But they begged and pleaded with us to let them [for the privilege/grace to] share in this service for God’s people [the saints]. 5 And they gave in a way we did not expect: They first gave themselves to the Lord and to us. This is what God wants […by the will of God]. 6 So we asked [urged; encouraged] Titus [2:13] to help you finish this special work of grace since he is the one who started it. 7 You are rich [excel] in everything - in faith, in speaking, in knowledge, in truly wanting to help [eagerness; zeal], and in the love you learned [that is in you] from us. In the same way, be strong [excel] also in the grace of giving. (EXB - emphasis mine)Another passage to consider:
Deuteronomy 15: 10 - 11 10 Give freely to the poor person, and do not wish that you didn’t have to give [begrudge him this matter]. The Lord your God will bless your work and everything you touch [undertake; send from your hand]. 11 There will always be poor people in the land, so I command you to give freely [open your hand] to your neighbors [or relatives; or countrymen; brothers] and to the poor and needy in your land. (EXB - emphasis mine)
* A few of the previous pieces on giving: