“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a 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.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6–8 NLT
Martin Luther once said that “a religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” The fact is, being a Christian means that we must give of ourselves and our first fruits.
Generosity is measured by sacrifice, not amount. In Luke 21, we read the story of the widow and the two copper coins. Jesus watched the rich put in their gifts–undoubtedly much more than the two pennies the poor widow put in. But she put in more than all of them, because it was all she had. Luke 21:3-4 tells us, “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
We start becoming generous when it really costs us. When I give, and it means that I can’t do something else I wanted to do–that’s generosity. And it’s true of more than money–our time and energy too. If generosity is measured by sacrifice, no one is more generous than God who gave His only Son.
Many people feel that generosity is dependent upon your circumstances. It is easy for people who are wealthy to be generous because they are giving out of their excess. Or we explain that we will be more generous when we make more money, when we get on our feet, or when we get this promotion. John D. Rockefeller, the wealthy businessman, once said, “I never would have been able to tithe on the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.” The way to be generous tomorrow is to start being generous today.
Being generous means seizing on opportunities. Generosity isn’t a one-off ad hoc moment in time and then you can check it off; it’s a lifestyle of seizing opportunities to help others. Generosity isn’t about “doing your good deed for the day,” it’s about looking for every opportunity to bless people.
Look for ways to help others, to be generous. My prayer is that God will make us generous as He is generous.
- How does God’s economy differ from that of our culture?
- Generosity becomes contagious when a community of people buy into the reality that God’s economy can be trusted to take care of us far better than any other economy. Have you ever been a part of contagious generosity like this? What was it like?
- God’s work must be supported by God’s people. Do you agree? Why or why not? Do you typically assume that someone else will cover the cost if you don’t? Do you see yourself as a participant or a spectator in what God is doing in your community?
- What will you need from God to help you to become more generous? Pray and ask God to help you in those areas.