“We make living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
I started Sunday’s sermon with a confession. Nothing too shocking. Nothing that should lead you to fire me as your pastor, at least I hope not. But, a genuine confession, nonetheless. As I stated Sunday, I was not a poster child for generosity in my youth. Many people are not. The main reason is I saw generosity as a luxury, not a necessity. I have learned over the years, however, that I was wrong,
Generosity was very personal for me. I’d rather not have to think about this subject, because like most people, I have mixed feelings about how much stuff I have. Part of me really likes my stuff and wants more of it, and part of me feels guilty about having too much stuff. Maybe you can relate. So, it was easier to simply not address the issue and thus postpone any action on generosity into the future.
But here is a fundamental truth. The very fact that we are resistant to talking about the subject, and resistant to changing our behavior, is proof we do need to talk about it and even more importantly act on it. Because it is an area that is genuinely unsettled in many of our lives, a place where we truly need God’s direction, even though a part of us tends to resist it.
I am no longer reluctant to talk about this subject. And it is not because the church or God needs your money. We are undertaking the How To Be Rich series because I am excited about generosity making our lives better. Raising money is important, but building a culture of generosity is more important than just getting the money. A culture of generosity is built by continually giving to others. We want generosity to be a common thread that runs through the entire church. Generosity is the antidote to the greed so prevalent in the world. It’s the tangible expression of God’s love in the world.
Is generosity a tough subject for you? If so, why? Do you believe generosity contributes to true meaning and satisfaction in our own lives?
- Why are Christians not as generous as they should be? Generally there are four reasons: (1) We lack the means to give generously; (2) We want more time to save more, build up our retirement, pay off debt, etc. We live in areas where there doesn’t seem to be any legitimate needs, and (4) we do not understand that giving generously is a key element in our life with God. Do you fit into any of these categories? Are these legitimate excuses?
- Each of us has something to give. Some have wealth, some have talents, some have time. What gifts do you have? Do you give them generously?
- Take some time and pray to the Lord. Ask Him to give you a truly open heart to generosity. Ask Him to take away your resistance to giving. Ask Him to teach you how to be generous. Come up with a first step toward becoming more generous.