T’is the season for giving. It can be fun. And, then too, some giving is tangled up with other things and loses the sparkle of joy. When we try to impress someone or when we feel we must prove our love by buying a gift that leaves us in debt, that is not fun, at all. Generosity, a way of life that feels no need to hold onto time, money, or things tightly, is liberating.
- One of the most joyous choices in my life is giving the resources God has put in my hands to supports ministries and missions.
- I miss bringing a rose home to my wife, seeing her delight in being remembered in such a small way.
- Yesterday, I stepped away from my desk and drove to see a lady from the church who has been confined to a hospital room for a week. I was richer for the gift of time!
- There’s a man in our church who has given thousands of dollars to projects and people during the years that I have known him. He does so without recognition. And, he is joyful in his giving.
It’s not just about money! Being generous in spirit by refusing offense, by withholding critical comments, shown in notes and words of encouragement, reveals that a heart is formed by love. We are to be like our Father and He is generous. He “loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-11)
Generosity is more than an impulse. It is sustained by what the late Stephen Covey calls an “abundance mentality.” He says that it is a way of thinking that believes there are enough resources to share with others. Generosity multiplies our resources rather than diminishing them. Jesus Christ said it first – “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” (Luke 6:38, The Message)
I am encouraged in my own giving – of time, of love, of money, of life – by this promise: “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10, NLT) The gifts we give are memorialized by our Lord and will find a rich reward.
Here’s a word from the Word. Let it speak to every part of your life. “Just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. … For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:7,9, NIV)
This Christmas Season, find multiple ways to be generous. Don’t feel compelled to go into financial debt. Instead, pray for a spirit of generosity that causes people who pass through your life to be touched by joy, enriched by your spirit as you overflow with the Spirit’s graces. All this will prove to be for the glory of the One who first loved us! Amen.
Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
Come Thou fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy grace Lord like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
John Wyeth | Robert Robinson
- © Words: Public Domain