Do you ever set a spiritual goal for yourself? I actually never have. I’m not sure why. Probably because it feels useless. But this past year the Lord laid something on my heart… this concept of generosity. And let me tell you, it has radically changed my perspective.
I can’t help but think of my father-in-law, Luis Palau. I called him Poppa. It’s still hard to believe he is no longer with us. (He passed away last March 2021.) One of the words that marked his life was “generosity.” He was a generous man. Generous with his resources and generous with his life! You saw it everywhere Luis went. Tipping bus boys. Gifts to grandkids. Supporting widows and orphans. He never made a show of it. In fact, he was quite secretive about it. But I will never forget it.
The Apostle Paul talks a lot about generosity in the New Testament. We all know the famous words from 2 Corinthians 9 – “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
We usually think about these words in relation to money or material things, and of course, Paul is talking about those things. But if you look at chapter 8, right before these famous words, Paul talks about the generosity of Jesus.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
Paul is not talking about money or material wealth in that verse. He’s talking about life!
We see generosity as fitting into various pockets of our lives, but Paul didn’t see it that way. Jesus didn’t either. There’s an intermingling for Paul, as there should be for all of us.
Why would anyone sow sparingly anyway? The only reason is if they feel there is not enough. Not enough time. Not enough resources. Not enough energy.
Hold back. Be careful. We may not have enough to go around.
We all do it. I do it! The entire world does it. In fact, as a whole, over the last few years, we all seem to be in a deep season of self-preservation, because there just doesn’t seem to be enough of us to go around. Yet that is not the case when we trust in Christ. He is enough. He is the God of abundance. Abundant joy, peace, forgiveness, and freedom! That is the message we are called to share with the world.
Let’s be honest… our generosity flows out of how we see God. Do we see God as a giver or a taker?
If we see him as a taker – hard, expectant, judging our every move – we will tread lightly. We will hold back. But if we see Him the way he truly is – the One who is able to make all grace abound, providing all that we need – then we will live generous lives.
Just like Mary, the sister of Lazarus. She was the woman who poured the oil on the feet of Jesus in John 12. Costly oil. Expensive perfume. To so many, it was viewed as a waste. She was criticized for it. Told to preserve it. That’s when Jesus speaks up. He reminds them that this is a beautiful thing Mary has done.
You see, Mary realised something many have yet to understand. God is more generous than we could ever imagine. He gave everything for us, and she realized there was nothing she could give that was too much. As she is criticized, Jesus comes to her defence. He calmly, yet forcefully, rebukes the accusers. “Leave her alone,” he says. “Don’t you see what she is doing is beautiful?”
There are many things we hold precious in this world. Money. Resources. Reputation. For me, it is often time. Yet the more I have laid my precious resource of time at Jesus’ feet – allowing Him to guide me, send me, use me, direct me – the more I have been blown away by His glorious grace and abundance.
From the prisons of Malawi to the farmland of Eastern Oregon, the beautiful beaches of Florida to the rainy city of Manchester, England, everywhere the Lord sent us this past year, He has been faithful to share His Good News and lead many to his saving grace.
There is hope in the name of Jesus. There is peace in his life. There is grace abounding for you as you generously serve him.
I pray you will be encouraged in this beautiful journey of generosity that he calls you to.
We can never out-give God. Never.
- What is it that stops you from being generous?
- Are there any parts of your life that you know you aren’t sowing generously into?
- How might you take steps today towards cultivating a lifestyle of generosity?