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From the Summer 2017 issue of Knowing & Doing:

Joy of Generosity

by Todd Harper
Author of Abundant, Experiencing the Incredible Journey of Generosity

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 The culture in which we find ourselves would have us believe that the way to happiness is to gain more. More money. More things. More pleasure. As followers of Christ, we inherently know that true abundance comes only from God, yet we are still vulnerable to the culture of more and its powerful pull on our lives. My wealthy friend who acknowledged he could have it all was really struggling with questions like, “How much is enough?” and “What really is the abundant life?”
 One of the subtexts of the “culture of more” is that religion—especially Christianity—is a barrier to your happiness. That it’s a bunch of rules designed to take all the fun out of life. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that obeying God and following his teaching is the only way to experience not just the good life, but the best life. Consider this exhortation from the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy:

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.1 Timothy 6:17-19

 Life that is truly life. The “more” that we crave is only available to those who put their hope and trust fully in God. This is not a criticism of wealth or the nice things it can buy, but a reminder that the happiness we seek will never be found in “more,” but only in a God who wants to lavish us with his blessings: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

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