How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution? Imagine if the Church really lived this way? How many desperate needs would be met and how many hurting hearts would find hope? Would it be worth the effort and cost?
At the core of this challenge lies this week’s character quality of generosity. Generosity is managing my resources so I can freely give to those in need. It’s a willingness to give money, time, or help freely. Being liberal in my giving. It’s wanting to do all the good I can, by all the means I can, in all the ways I can, and so on.
However, if I’ve got a large stack of bills to pay, my desire to give is hampered by my bank balance. And if I’ve filled every spare moment of my calendar with another obligation or appointment, I am unable to respond to a call for help.
But, if I can balance my budget, downsize my materialistic tendencies, and pay off a few bills, then I have the resources to freely give to those in need when the opportunity arises. If I take a close look at my priorities and trim my schedule accordingly, I may find the time to invest in others.
When I live with generosity, even if all I can offer seems like very little, I discover the divine paradox. I give … and God gives back. As Jesus taught his disciples, “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 NIV)
Paul wrote: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV)
God blesses us so that we can be generous. So this New Year, let’s live with generosity. The benefits are more than we can imagine.
What about you? Do you find it easy or difficult to give? Why or why not? If you had twice the income this year, what would you do with it and why?