“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” ― Romans 12:13.
Living a generous life is not easy. Jesus set the standard that we can’t match. That’s because God is a giver. Generosity is a reflection of God’s nature. People, on the other hand, not so much. We tend to lean toward self-interest and self-preservation, and self-promotion. Giving to others, is not natural or instinctive. it has to be learned. We learn from our Heavenly Father. God is always giving his eternal resources to others. Matthew 7:11 says,“so if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
So when deciding on whether to give or not, the question is not “where should I give” or “how much,” but “why do I give.” In Philippians 2, Paul said, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Do you hear what Paul’s saying? Here’s a whole new way to be generous. Consider others better than yourselves. Look at the good of the whole, not just what’s in your best interests. Share tenderness and compassion. These are all gifts and ways to practice generosity in addition to money.
It’s not just our words, it’s our actions which make such a huge difference. Look at the early church. They were persecuted and killed and ostracized. The world had a low view of Christians. But that didn’t stop them. They kept on trucking.
It’s not enough for us to talk about generosity, nor is it enough for individual Christians to simply commit to being generous. What makes generosity a real and powerful witness for God is our actions. Generosity results from the conclusion that all we have or will have is not ours, it belongs to God. Because God has shared His wealth with us, we should share what God has given us with others.
Our money and possessions are more than a luxury or responsibility. It’s an opportunity to witness to the love and grace of God who freely gives salvation to all who accept it. Generosity is the fullest expression of the life of one who receives, one who has been given a gift, a gift that must be used wisely and for a purpose, bringing glory to God.
- 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?
- 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?