What is generosity? Isn’t it the opposite of selfish? Those who are generous are selfless. The Apostle Paul said, “Consider others more important than yourself – Jesus did!” (Philippians 2)
When you were born, you were the most selfish person in your family. So was I. A baby who is hungry or has a wet diaper cries until you fix the discomfort. The baby doesn’t care if it’s 3am and you’ve had a hard day. The baby has no concern that you are losing the rest you desperately need. Babies are the most selfish beings in the world – by God’s design.
It is a survival mechanism. Babies can’t change themselves. They can’t feed themselves. Most parents get that. However, babies grow up. Part of healthy maturity is about becoming selfless. Well-balanced adults have grown to care about others.
Every Christian starts out as a baby, spiritually. That’s why the Bible calls you a “child of God.” Generosity, for Christians, is a sign of spiritual maturity. Jesus modeled generosity. He loved the unlovable. He accepted those socially unacceptable. He forgave the morally bankrupt. He generously gave His life so those who follow Him can “live abundantly.”
Jesus talked about money often –more frequently than prayer. Money is crystalized sweat. It is the hard currency of your generosity. Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be” (Matthew 6:21). He says you will be more joyful to give than to receive. That doesn’t fit well with Madison Avenue marketing plans.
You and I live in a consumer-driven society. Many are telling you to focus on what you want. Christianity says you would do better to focus on what God wants.
Research conducted by George Barna shows the majority of Christians give back to God 3%. They forget that God really owns it all. If you think He is begging you for funds, forget it. He owns everything. Some say, “God is challenging you to give 10% back to His work.” Actually God has challenged you to keep 90%!
Generosity seems to be more caught than taught. My grandmother didn’t have much, but she was one of the most generous people: with her love, kindness, time, and money. When I got old enough to give her presents, I discovered I could not out give my grandmother. It wasn’t her ego, or pride, or an attempt to prove a point. It was who she was.
I’m sure my parents caught generosity from my grandmother. I caught generosity from them. It’s not an academic equation, it’s an experience, and it’s contagious. Someone once said, to become generous, you have to trust God. The leap of faith is like this: It’s as if God was standing next to you on a cliff. You look down and see no one. God whispers in your ear, “Go ahead and jump. I’ll catch you.” And he does – every time! The leap is always scary. After a few jumps, it becomes a lifestyle. He catches you. You catch generosity.
Don’t wait to become a millionaire to practice generosity. Much of generosity is an act of caring. A helping hand. A financial investment beyond yourself. Who benefits? The one who receives – yes. Strangely, however, also the one who gives.
There is more: Your community benefits. So does your world. Yet, there is still more: your children, grandchildren, friends catch it, and generosity grows. There are many ways to change the world. Generosity is one of them. Generosity is powerful.
We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.