I am not naturally generous which is a sad confession for a pastor. But when I am generous I wonder why I am not so more often because it completely changes the way I see and feel about life. Can you relate to what I am talking about?
According to the Bible it is more of a blessing to give than to receive. Paul in Acts 20: 35 in the context of talking about his hard gospel work and helping of the needy says, “…the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive.’”
But why would that be the case? We love the idea of generosity… but the reality of generosity, giving more than we get, makes us feel like a mouse in a hawk’s talons. I think the reason that giving is more blessed is because God is a generous God and when we (created in His image) are generous we connect at a very core level with how we are made to live! And when we are selfish and stingy we move away from what we are designed to be and start to try and find happiness or blessedness in ways that will never deliver!
Generosity (lavish generosity) characterises God and should characterise us if we claim to worship God!
Let me explain this from the Bible… I call it the “3: 16 principle”
Part 1: Read John 3: 16. God demonstrates His love through the generosity of giving His “only begotten” literally “special, beloved,” Son (incarnation, life and death) so that if we believe (acknowledge our need for and accept the offer of this generosity) we don’t perish but receive eternal life!
Part 2: 1 John 3: 16. The first half of that verse explains John 3: 16 in a different way. The second half of that verse shows us what we should do in response… Just as God in Jesus shows His love through generosity we should do the same thing. We should be willing to lay down our lives (lavish generosity) for others. And in practical ways 1 John 3: 17 – 18, although that would not exclude gospel ways. And when we are like God in loving generosity and not like the sinful world in protective self-centeredness then we experience the peace of God and the assurance of our salvation 1 John 3: 19 – 20.
And so whether we are generous people or not is like asking do you worship God or not? Do you understand the Gospel or not? Because those who worship a loving, generous God who has saved us through Jesus… will strive to be generous like that!
Do we have a generous spirit in our relationships? That is (like God) we are willing to forgive, show grace, be sacrificially loving and be willing to walk the extra mile.
Are we generous with our spiritual gifts, talents and abilities? That is (like God) we give “who we are” for the benefit of others. That means giving them our time so that who and what we are can benefit them in some way.
Are we generous with our possessions and money? Everything that exists belongs to God and He never sells it to anyone only entrusts it to their care to be used as He sees fit which always includes generosity with it all.
Generosity (lavish generosity) characterises God and should characterise us if we claim to worship God! Let’s use the 3: 16 principle!