“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace…However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:1-3, 7.
When we think of God’s attributes and characteristics, we don’t typically think of generosity. But we should; God is the author of generosity. James 1:17 tells us that “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father…” God gives us everything we need. The planet we live on makes that statement irrefutable. Everything works perfectly for us to have air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat.
The Bible is full of examples of Jesus’s generosity. In Mark 5:21-43 we have two examples. Wherever Jesus went, people clamored around Him to hear His words of wisdom, to ask for healing, or just to be near Him. Wouldn’t you? One day He was making His way through the crowds when one of the local synagogue officials, a man named Jairus, came up and asked Him to come heal his dying daughter. Jesus went with him. Can you imagine the relief Jairus must have felt. He had renewed hope that his daughter, his only child, would be healed. Once they started a woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Jesus sensed it and asks who did it. The woman who did it probably did not want to cause a scene but that’s exactly what happened anyway. Jesus stops and deals with her tenderly. She thought she was healed because she touched His clothes, but Jesus tells her faith healed her. Another wonderful, generous healing, the crowd sees it and is once again impressed and inspired by Jesus. No wonder they were all wanting to hang out with Him. But Jairus was impatient, hoping Jesus would get to his daughter in time.
He didn’t. Word comes that Jairus’ daughter is dead. Jesus says simply, “Be not afraid, only believe.” When they finally arrive, the weeping and wailing of the mourners greets them. But Jesus made a simple declaration that broke the spell of grief. He said, “She’s not dead. She’s only asleep.” Mark 5:41-42 says, “Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.” Jesus’ attention to such detail reveals His characteristic kindness and sympathy. Just one story that demonstrates the generosity, grace and love of Jesus.
Jesus is truly the ultimate example of unselfish love and generosity who has set a standard we need to imitate. God is not stingy or reluctant in His giving. He loves to give and is happy to bless. He takes great delight in providing for His children. In the gospel, we are recipients of God’s lavish generosity. The cross is the standard of God’s eagerness to give. It is the guarantee that He is willing and able to provide all that we need.
- 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?
- How can we we be more like Jesus in the area of generosity?