I’ll never forget Tom, he of the wide smile and big heart. I was 22 years old, far from home, on a scouting mission for a new ministry call in a town where I was acquainted with just 3 people. After receiving anything but a generous welcome to the town by the local pastor of my fellowship, I made my way to another church on Sunday morning. Tom sensed that I was a something of a lost puppy and he came to sit next to me.
A few sentences into our conversation, Tom spontaneously invited me home to his parents’ home for Sunday dinner and a place to sleep. For the next year, that man was the most amazing person – blessings my little family with gifts, words of encouragement, love, and sacrifice. Tom demonstrated a real change; he lived John’s words: “Dear children, let us not love with words … but with actions and in truth.”
Are you a generous person? Widen the lens and think of more than money.
Do you readily forgive, hope for the best, and seek to create a ‘win’ for others?
Our model of generosity is Christ Himself. You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9, NLT) Generosity is at the heart of the Good News, provided by a Man who let go of His Divine place to taste the full experience of humanity and to die that we can live!
Christians who experience the gracious generosity of God find a liberation from the impulse to take care of ‘me first.’ Those who are secured by the LOVE of God can let go of the careful protection of their time, money, their reputation, or their things. I know the joy that flows out of giving. Sending a check to my church, to a missionary friend, to a local charity, allows me to participate in the work and mission. When I greet a child, finding a reason to sincerely compliment them in a way that encourages their heart, I am blessed, too. Taking time to pray with a friend whose heart is weighed down by life creates a connection that enriches both of us.
Ah, yes, it is true that generosity of spirit reveals a changed character.
Innately human beings tend to take good care of #1! But, Christ calls us to become like Him and He is generous. He did not appear as a royal or a rich man. He entered His own creation as a servant – “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)
When we give, when we are generous, the Bible says that we plant seeds that return a harvest for us. “Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.” For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-11, NLT)
Generosity also flows out of a deep faith that believes that God is an inexhaustible Source of all good things.
The late Stephen Covey wrote of having an “abundance mentality.” He said that those who believe there are enough resources to share with others will give, feeling no need to hoard. Yes, friend, it is true that 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)
We live with this Scripture 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.
Do not wait for an impulse to give or for your heart to be opened by some emotional appeal. Instead we should make giving a spiritual discipline, a daily choice of humility and an expression of love. Let’s not be like this boy who sat on Santa’s knee at the mall. Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He said, “I want two toy trucks, two teddy bears, two remote control cars, and two video games.” Santa said, “That’s a pretty tall order. Why do you want two of everything?” He said, “So I can share.” Giving is not the result of having more than we need. It’s the result of the grace of God changing our attitude toward what we have. (quoted – Tim Jennings)
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)
Now, who needs you to invest in them, with a word of encouragement, a timely gift, or prayer?
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee
Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold
Take my intellect and use
Ev’ry pow’r as Thou shalt choose
Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine
Take my heart it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne
Take my love my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee
© Words: Public Domain