Generosity. The epitomy of godly character. It is, at once, love, kindness, faithfulness and selflessness—a spring bouquet of spiritual fruit.
Generosity comes in many forms. For instance, there is the act of giving one’s time to help another human being in need. Perhaps you give up a Saturday to help someone move, give someone a ride, or counsel a hurting friend. Many of us are so possessive of our free time and obsessive about our routine—not wanting it to be disrupted— that we won’t stop what we’re doing to help people. Or, we think to ourselves, “I’m sure someone else will do it.” Sometimes generosity means sharing our material blessings. Perhaps a friend is temporarily in need of a car and you just happen to have an extra parked in your driveway. Or a visiting pastor or missionary needs a place to lay their head and you have a spare bedroom now that your kids are out of the house. Or maybe you have an area large enough to host your Lifegroup for a fellowship. These are all wonderful ways in which you can exhibit generosity and at the same time, show that you are not holding on too tightly to the things of this world. The act most often associated with generosity is giving our actual money to worthy causes and needy people. It is through the generosity of God’s people that Christian ministries are funded and missionaries are sent.
Remember—your money and possessions are God’s anyway! You have nothing that He has not allowed you to have.
Generosity not only has a powerful impact for the Kingdom of God, but it has a tremendous impact on the giver himself. When we give, expecting nothing in return, purely out of love and selflessness, we are rewarded with joy, peace and a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Why? Because we are walking in obedience to God’s Word and reaping the reward for it. Make no mistake, giving that is done grudgingly or pridefully is an unworthy sacrifice. It’s useless. God knows your heart, dear friend. You may as well keep your money in your wallet if your motivation is impure. We can find many, many examples of well-known philanthropists in the world today who give for their own edification. This is not the type of generosity espoused in the Bible.
So, how can we show love (generosity) to our neighbor when they are hurting? Make them a meal, pay them a visit, send them a card. How can we show kindness (generosity) to the homeless man beside the road? Give him your spare change, buy him a fast food meal, give him a blanket or a coat. How can we exhibit faithfulness (generosity) to God’s mission in the world? Tithe above and beyond and support your church’s ministries. Give faithfully to missions and ministries in your area—of your time, money and resources. How can we demonstrate selflessness (generosity) in our families and communities? Put your own needs aside, be willing to disrupt your routine and put others’ needs before your own. Learn to act in a self-sacrificial way. If you have rarely or never given up your own desires for another then you probably do not have a spirit of generosity. Pray that God will work in that area of your life.
And remember—anonymous giving is the very best kind of giving!
My mother recently passed away at 95 years old. If you have ever experienced the loss of an elderly loved one then you have seen the amount of “stuff” that one can accumulate in a lifetime—stuff that certainly would not fit on the chariot as they were carried off to glory (my mom was a believer and is currently at the feet of Jesus)! That experience, as well as the death of my father several years before that, brought home to me the brevity of life and the need to give, serve and love while we are here—unaware of the day God has established as our last. I have come to see money and material things as objects to hold loosely in this life. The material things under our care were given to us, by God, to bless others and to further His kingdom (period). The “stuff” we accumulate year after year will not go with us to heaven but will be burned up as hay and stubble when Jesus takes us home. The only thing that will matter is our contribution (time, money and resources) to His people and His kingdom.
I will leave you with some wisdom from God’s Word regarding generosity:
“Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
“Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will himself reward you openly.” Matthew 6:1-4