How generous are you?
It’s an interesting question, because automatically, we tend to couch generosity in terms of money. And, let’s make no mistake – money matters. I heard one pastor say recently “when you trust God with your money, then you are finally, actually trusting God.” But there are several forms of being generous.
If Jesus is in you, then generosity is in you. Love for others is an essential part of our faith, and we cannot express love without some form of generosity. It could be generosity of love, of time, of service, of sacrifice. In this sense, our demonstration is more important than our proclamation. We can say we love Jesus and say that we follow him, but if we just have those feelings of generosity “in our hearts” than we are not lovers of God at all, and certainly we are not lovers of people.
Generosity is Primary
Generosity is not a subtle sidecar to other, more important themes in the bible. In fact, generosity is mentioned in scripture about 2285 times. If God cares that much about generosity to mention it THAT many times, it’s something we all need to pay (see what I did there?) careful attention to it.
Furthermore, we all must take on the responsibility – the heavy, necessary responsibility – of being among the wealthiest people in the world. If your combined household income is over $45,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of the world in wealth. With that as a backdrop, can we all, collectively, save our breath on trying to justify ourselves as not being wealthy? And instead, behave as though we are just for the sake of obedience to the Lord?
So, what specifically does the bible have to say about those who are wealthy? An awful lot, but here’s one key verse:
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.1 Timothy 6:17-19
The wealthy are told to: 1) do good, 2) be rich in good works, and 3) be generous and ready to share.
-How can your generosity be a force for good and for the gospel this week in your neighborhood, workplace, or school?
-How can you do good through your wealth, assets, time, and energy this week?
-In what ways are you more selfish than you should be, and instead, you need to be more ready to share?
For the follower of Jesus, generosity is not an option. It is a way of life that demonstrates the love for others we must have to love God well! How do we, as parents, demonstrate generosity to our kids, with our kids, and for our kids? That’s is a key question to helping them grow in a faith of their own!
Until the next Feast,
*Note: both the numbers of 2285 times and $45K being top 1% of wage earners came from a sermon on this topic by JD Greear posted on Summit Life podcast. It’s a great podcast!