Me to We: Irrationally Generous
As Christians, our generous giving is a unique expression of gratitude to God for His incredible grace in our lives. We are not generous because we feel guilty. Rather, our generosity flows out of gratitude for the redemptive work of the gospel in our hearts. The Gospel of Jesus Christ changes our hearts and permeates our entire lives. We want to be generous in ways that don’t always “make sense” in light of the circumstances, but show a deep trust in God’s love and provision. This type of irrational generosity is the opposite of what culture is telling us to do. Giving can take on many forms. We can give financially, we can give of our time, talents or professional expertise. Generous giving, whatever the form, is one of the most compelling ways we can demonstrate to a watching world the generous nature of our God.
Something To Talk About:
Generous to a fault – Have you ever heard that phrase? It describes a person who gives until he has nothing else to give; he gives from the heart for the benefit of others. He gives in a self-sacrificing manner, making the gesture unselfish. How can we become more unselfish ourselves? How can we aspire to live self-sacrificially for Christ, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and ultimately practice being irrationally generous routinely?
- Better to give then to receive: Paul quotes Jesus as saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Jesus is saying that when we give – whether it be time, energy, service, encouragement, resource, or whatever – there is an even greater blessing than when we are on the receiving end. That sounds unnatural, almost counter-cultural, because after all, why wouldn’t we be happier if we were always on the receiving end of things? Yet even today’s secular research indicates that giving leads to longer and more lasting feelings of happiness and well-being than receiving does. Here is something to remember: God is blessed when we give, especially when we give generously. First, God is honored when we give and secondly, our generous giving provides for the building of the church of Jesus Christ and the extension of God’s kingdom. It is better to give than to receive.
- We will lead the way with irrational generosity: The gospel is a story of God’s generosity to humankind. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave…” (John 3:16) God the Father is radically generous; He not only gave, He gave his very best, “…his one and only Son”. (John 3:16) Irrational generosity is not an easy thing to do in a world of consumerism and keeping up with the Joneses. But learning to be an irrational giver not only means showing God’s character, connecting us with eternity and demonstrating the Gospel, it is also an amazing way to see God move in your life. Because as you learn to give, you become aware that God is your ultimate provider who promises to “will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) So as we act in faith to share with others what we ourselves could enjoy, we demonstrate Gospel-like love that is eye opening. When we make someone pause and ask, “Why would you do something like that for me,” we are preparing their hearts to receive the good news of Jesus who gave sacrificially to us even when we did not deserve it.
- How does God’s economy differ from that of our culture?
- Have you ever intentionally curtailed your normal spending in order to be more generous to the Lord’s work? If so, when? How do those experiences shape your own generosity today?
- Would you say you receive or give more? How would you change that equation if you could?
- How have you seen irrational generosity modeled for you by others or in your life? How has their generosity impacted your life?
- Share a time when you felt blessed from giving to others. How does it compare to other things that bring you joy?
- Where is God calling you to be (more) generous? Finances, relationships, possessions, etc.? Be specific.
Take One Thing Home with You:
“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.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7.
Generosity is not something we want from you; it’s something we want for you. If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve likely been present for a message on money. And when the subject comes up, you probably sigh and say, “here we go again.” But the primary purpose of talking about tithing or generosity is not to create an opportunity for the church to get money from people. The primary purpose of the offering is to give people an opportunity to experience the blessing of giving.
The source of church resources is not people; it’s God. He is the one who supplies everything the church needs. If we refuse to participate in partnership with God, He will find another way. But at the end of the day, it is we that miss out.
Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). When we give, we are positioning ourselves to be recipients of God’s blessing (Malachi 3:10).