“Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered.” – Psalm 112:5-6.
The University of Notre Dame conducted a Generosity Project. Generosity as defined by the project is “ giving good things”, giving “freely”, and giving “abundantly.” The project studied the difference between a few acts of generosity into a culture of generosity. This project discovered what we instinctively know: in most cases, generosity doesn’t doesn’t come naturally.
For the Christian, the issue is not just that we give, but how. “God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Giving is built on the great why of Christianity. Why the Son of God would demonstrate the ultimate in generosity in coming to save us. “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9). If Jesus is in us, then increasingly His traits should become our traits. Generosity is one of the great evidences of truly being a Christian. So how do we develop a culture of generosity.
Romans 12:13 says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” What Paul is basically saying is that, you have to identify yourself with others in need. In other words, we make the needs of other people 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?”
The Philippian church took Paul’s needs to their hearts, and he wrote to them; “Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. . . . Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. . . . At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is 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 pleasing to the Lord. Galatians 6:10 adds,
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”
The simple definition of generosity 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 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 can be more generous in the weeks ahead.