Do You Begrudge Generosity? Or Do You DIGLI?

“God loves inequality…

In terms of gifts, talents, abilities, opportunities, blessings, God is unequally lavish, at least according to our standards, and that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” 

–Joe Rigney

Why Differences Are Good

Differences mean inequality. While many would have you think otherwise, the inequality inherent in our differences is actually a good thing.

In beauty and intelligence, in wealth, in health, and in family of birth, we’re all different. By each of these measures, we are not equal.

But such inequality is not a design flaw.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made (Psalm 145:17). Since God gave his gifts this unequal way, and He’s always loving and righteous, unequal must not be bad. The opposite must be true.

In God’s economy, unequal equals good.

Definitely, yes–we’re equal in the sense of bearing God’s image and are each of us fearfully and wonderfully made. But since differences were arranged by Creator-He clearly dispenses his gifts in diverse and disproportionate ways, He must love inequality.

The body analogy helps us if we stall out here. The body shows us unequal does not mean unimportant.

And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (1 Corinthians 12:16-18).

God scatters grace and mercy as he wishes on whom he wills. He is lavishly, unequally loving toward all he has made.What do you with this truth?

What do you do when you brush right up against God’s gifts and blessings to others?

Do you say, It’s so unfair and envy? Or, As you wish, Lord, and DIGLI?

The Great Leveler

Contrary to popular opinion, inequality does not need a fix. We need not level the playing field. Five is not equal to three and that doesn’t make either digit a more necessary number. The world would not be better off with just fours.

Dorothy Sayers said, Envy is the great leveler. And that it always levels down. Envy and the resentment would have us lower the blessing bar to the lowest common denominator. If I can’t make a six-figure income, you shouldn’t either. If my kid can’t be a champ, yours shouldn’t be either.

Not Digging Our DIGLI

No, the world does not dig our DIGLI. They don’t get our happy dance and would ban the chance to dance it if they could.

We redistribute to make wealth more even and push our women to be combat-ready rangers. We used to have a valedictorian. Then came two and a few, and a dozen. Now let’s scrap the whole thing. And forget the youth league MVP. All the kids get a trophy.

If we believe the world’s lie, that unequal needs a fix, we can’t.

But if we have eyes to see unequal as God’s gift, we can and will DIGLI.

When I DIGLI

I love secondhand gifts. When God’s grace to others overflows to me, I’m not too proud to DIGLI.

I DIGLI when I listen to my friend Shari play piano and gaze at how she can paint.

Shari’s Sheep

I DIGLI when a service tech looks under the hood and can fix the clunk while I wait.

I DIGLI when one son soaks up a poem and recites it so easily and the other knows who needs a hug and just how firm it should be.

I DIGLI when in Tolkien and Lewis transport me to Middle-earth or Narnia.

I DIGLI when my cheeks are sore from laughing at Tim Hawkins’ yoga pants.

I DIGLI. Do you?

Do you Delight In God’s Lavish Inequality?

You’ve got to have faith to love God’s scattered grace. You must believe His Word is true to DIGLI.

Eyes of faith see his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he

But I don’t always DIGLI.

When I Don’t DIGLI

I don’t dance that happy dance when I compare. When I compare, I either start to covet what she’s got, or to complain about what I haven’t got. Both are ugly, both sin.

God’s lavish inequality is revealed not just in scattered gifts, but in how he administers mercy, too. The way God relents and forgives, how he just–swoosh–erases others’ punishment, that inequality of mercy can bring out the Pharisee in me.
And Pharisees don’t DIGLI.
We become self-righteous, “equality” seekers who don’t dance when we say,
  •  Why does Sam get dessert? You said if he didn’t finish his broccoli he wouldn’t get dessert and now you’re letting him have ice cream. That is not right!
  • I’m not so sure that’s how it should be, I reasoned. Why did the she get picked when I worked so much harder? That is so unfair.
  • Isn’t this what I said? That’s why I made haste to flee; I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful… yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.

It’s hard to swallow God’s grace sometimes. When I compare, I choke on mercy.

How to Dance the DIGLI

But we’d be so much better off on our happy feet. These three truths help me to delight in God’s lavish inequality.

  1. Embrace the body analogy. When I see someone with gifts and abilities and blessings, do I give thanks to the Giver of all gifts, who arranges all the parts of the body as he sees fit? Do I delight in his secondhand gifts?
  2. Find yourself in the Bible stories. Are you Cain or Abel? Saul or Jonathan? Are you Jonah fuming under the shriveled vine. Do you cry, “Your mercy is too great. No fair.” Or rejoice with the blessed?
  3. Give thanks. Envy cannot coexist with gratitude. So anchor yourself in God’s grace with gratitude, says Rigney. Be grateful for gifts God gave them. No wrong has been done because God blessed them. His grace won’t run out.

As You Wish

Do you remember how Princess Bride starts?

Nothing gave Buttercup as much pleasure as ordering Wesley around, Grandpa read.

Farm Boy, polish my horses’ saddle. Farm Boy, fill these with water. Please fetch that jar.

“As you wish,” was all Wesley ever said.  

Then one day Buttercup was amazed to discover that when he was saying,

 “As you wish,” he was really saying, “I love you.” 
 
It is that simple. Wesley’s words of true love and devotion should be ours, too. When we trust God, we can dance the happy dance.
When we DIGLI we are really saying to God, the Giver of all good gifts, As you wish, Lord. Which is really saying, I love you.

Dear Lord, please help us to rejoice in the ways you
dispense your gifts. Forgive us for our envy and discontent. Help us to say, and to really mean, “As you wish.” Help us delight in your lavish inequality.  For the praise of your glorious grace, amen.Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?

–Jesus, in Matthew 20:15

One thought on “Do You Begrudge Generosity? Or Do You DIGLI?

  1. Cathe Swanson says:

    This is a good point:

    Dorothy Sayers said, Envy is the great leveler. And that it always levels down. Envy and the resentment would have us lower the blessing bar to the lowest common denominator. If I can't make a six-figure income, you can't either. If my kid can't be a champ, yours can't be either.

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