If you’ve been following these posts, for the last little bit we’ve been sharing some of the basics of Christianity; those things that each who’ve made the decision to follow Christ, now find ourselves wanting to learn to do as part of our daily walk. Like all discipleship, this takes discipline. It’s not always easy and we may find ourselves having to retrain our minds over and over again. But it almost always results in our growth, both in and through Christ. If you’d like to review any of the previous pieces on the basics of Christian living, you can do so through this link. Today, we’re going to take a look at the Biblical construct of generosity.
Before we do, I just want to take a minute to acknowledge and thank each of you who’ve given to our recent Christmas Community Service Outreach Project. At last week’s First Friday event, so many of you gave of your time, talents, love and resources that, so far, we’ve been able to touch 224 lives and souls in North San Diego County through your generosity in this home mission. Your efforts have brightened senior spirits, fed hungry bellies and provided the opportunity for pregnant teens to have clean clothes so that they can feel more comfortable, encouraged and confident in continuing their high school studies toward providing better lives for themselves and their babies. Thank you, thank you, thank you! For sharing and spreading the love of Jesus to these people you don’t even know; to these “others” who may otherwise have felt forgotten or unloved this Christmas season. I genuinely and sincerely hope that your spirit has been lifted through participation, as well.
It got me to remembering, however, that if we’re not careful, this is one of those areas that the enemy can use to build up pride in ourselves. And to keep these beautiful acts of service to one another as one-time events instead of becoming regular disciplines in our new lives. How can we continue to build upon one generous act of service to develop it in to regular practice and a new way of being? How does the Bible guide us toward living generously, more regularly; as a part of our daily walk? And just about every time questions like these begin forming in my mind, I inevitably find myself doing one form or another of an online search. One source I frequently visit and study is the website gotquestions.org. While the Bible remains the final word on any of these subjects, this resource regularly points me to those books and passages in Scripture where great wisdom and direction on disciplines like generosity can be found. And so again today, I share with you a re-post of their take on this important foundational tenet of our faith and belief. I’ll touch base briefly with you again at the end of the article.
What Does the Bible Say About Generosity?
Generosity is the quality of being kind and unselfish, especially as it pertains to sharing money and other valuables with others. The Bible has a lot to say about generosity as a desirable character trait. Proverbs 22:9 says, “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” God is generous, and He expects us to follow His example.
God’s generosity is evidenced all around us. God created this planet that is especially suited and specifically made to sustain us and provide for our needs and pleasures. He supplies us with color, light, sound, air, and the ability to taste and enjoy, hear and appreciate, touch and be satisfied. Above all, God demonstrated His generosity when He offered His Son as a sacrifice to atone for our sin. In the face of such generosity, we can only say, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). The gift of Jesus to sinful mankind was the ultimate act of generosity.
As we have been forgiven, we are to forgive (Ephesians 4:32). And as we see God being generous, we are to be generous. Generosity can be manifested in many ways. We can give of our time, our material resources, our hospitality, and our friendship. The Bible teaches the general principle that those who are generous will find favor: “One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. People curse the one who hoards grain, but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell” (Proverbs 11:24–26). God’s Word is clear that the generous are remembered and rewarded, whether in this life or the next.
God challenges us to be generous because He wants us to receive the blessing that comes from it. Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). This promise is a reflection of the truth of 2 Chronicles 16:9 that “the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
We should show generosity to everyone, as we have opportunity: “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42). Former thieves must leave their past life behind and “work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Ephesians 4:28). The rich should “be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18).
In our generosity, we are not to expect repayment in kind. Our reward will come from the Lord, in His way and in His time. We are to show generosity even to our enemies: “If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. . . . If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?
. . . But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:29, 34–35).
God is seeking people who will reflect His character and model His generosity. He delights to bless them and show Himself strong on their behalf. In 2 Corinthians 9:6–15, Paul exhorts the church to be generous in their giving to the Lord’s work. And he praises the Philippians for being so generous to him, adding that it is not for himself that he rejoices but for them—they will be blessed because of their gift (Philippians 4:17). We can apply these encouragements to our own lives and strive to be generous and wise with everything God has entrusted to us.
As you read this guidance through the suggested verses, what thoughts come to mind?
How can we begin to be more aware of the opportunities God places in our path to be generous toward one another?
Our Community Services team at North Coast church has put together another amazing and wonderful opportunity for us in this season through the Christmas Outreach program. I recognize that many of us may feel bombarded by requests for contributions this time of year. But at the same time, I can’t more strongly recommend you consider this appeal, especially in that, again this year, it includes the opportunity to assist our Single Parent families at North Coast. While the needs throughout our community remain great, please remember our Lord’s guidance only to share out of love and with a cheerful heart and spirit.
I pray this article and its guidance touches and inspires you as it has me, toward greater acts of service toward others and support and encouragement of one another as we continue our discipleship together.
Right here with you,