“In all of my years of service to my Lord, I have discovered a truth that has never failed and has never been compromised. That truth is that it is beyond the realm of possibilities that one has the ability to out give God. Even if I give the whole of my worth to Him, He will find a way to give back to me much more than I gave.” – Charles Spurgeon
In order to be a generous giver, we need to answer an important question. The question is not “where should I give” or “how much,” but “why do I give.” The answer is pretty straight forward.
God gave us Jesus. Jesus gave us life. God and Jesus gave us the Holy Spirt. The Holy Spirit gives us direction, comfort, understanding of the Scriptures, and an understanding of God.
We should be overwhelmed when we take a moment to reflect on the incredible generosity of God towards us. God is not reluctant to be generous, he’s not tight-fisted with his generosity, but rather Scripture tells us that he’s extravagant in his generosity. Ephesians 1:8 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.“ Randy Alcorn said, “The more you give, the more comes back to you, because God is the greatest giver in the universe, and He won’t let you out give Him. Go ahead and try. See what happens.”
Christians should be generous. If Christians are not generous, it is probably because they don’t understand how generous God has been to them and how generous God has been to others. God didn’t give a few dollars here and there. He didn’t just spare a couple dollars here and there. He didn’t just add a few percent on a tip. He gave His Son.
Let’s look at the basics of being generous. Romans 12:13 says, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” What Paul is basically saying is that, you have to identify yourself with Christians in need. In other words, we make the needs of other Christians our own needs by asking ourselves some questions: How are they coping? What would I need if I were in their shoes? What would I do?”
“Is there anything I can do for you,” you ask, and the answer generally is, “Just pray for us at this time.” You don’t have to send them anything; you don’t have to call them every day; they don’t want you to visit their home, but they are glad that you do remember them and intercede. You are there for them. Then there come other degrees of involvement; weekly visiting or weekly shopping to name two. Or they live in Kenya and they are in financial need and you can help them a little bit with the the ongoing fresh water project.
The Philippian church took Paul’s needs to their hearts, and he wrote to them; “it was kind of you to share my trouble. . . . Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again . . . I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:14, 16, 18). Paul saw their practical kindness to him as glorifying God. It was an offering that was fragrant to the Lord. Galatians 6:10 adds, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
The simple definition of gnerosrsfty is: using your God-given ability to help those in need and where your time, money, and talents come together to meet the needs of others.
- What is the most generous gift you have ever received? How did it make you feel?
- Americans are some of the wealthiest people in the world, but do you think Americans are generous with their wealth? Why or why not?
- Acts 4:33-37 describes the generosity of some within the Jerusalem church who sold personal property to help others in need. What do you think is going on here? How does it strike you?
- What excuses do people sometimes make for not being more generous with their resources (time, money, and energy) toward others? What excuses have you made?
- Identify one practical way you will live out the generosity exemplified in Acts as a response to God’s grace in the coming weeks.