The foundation for our conversation about generosity rests on the following six core messages from the Bible:
Giving Brings Joy
Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
I have seen this message validated over and over again in the lives of generous Christians. It is the “unexpected delight” that always results when someone decides to live generously. And while our focus is usually on money, this message also applies to giving your time or talent away. At one of our larger events in Colorado Springs recently, a guy who had built a successful construction company shared how he used to view giving somewhat legalistically.
“I always gave my ten percent to the church, sort of like checking off a list of things to do,” he explained. “I can’t say I got all that excited about it. But once I grasped the concept of generosity, giving became fun. My wife told me she had never seen me write a check before with a smile on my face.”
He’s experiencing that transition I describe as moving from “I ought to give” to “I get to give.”
Another guy at that same event shared how every now and then, just for the fun of it, he’ll pay for the groceries of the person in front of him at the grocery store checkout.
“Sometimes I honestly sense God is telling me to make that lady’s day, but truthfully, the reactions I get make my day!” he said.
Contrary to the message of popular culture that religion—specifically Christianity—takes all the fun out of life, Jesus offers a life that is not dependent upon wealth for happiness or pleasure. The truly abundant life that comes from obeying God has little to do with more stuff and everything to do with more freedom, peace, joy, adventure, and purpose.
Giving Is a Heart Issue
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21
I have been profoundly influenced by the writing of best-selling author Randy Alcorn. He advises, “If you want a heart for something, invest in it.” And to illustrate he explains that if you invest in Google, you get more interested in news about Google. You follow it closely. There are lots of other tech companies, but you’re more concerned about Google because you’ve invested in it.
Similarly, if you invest in the kingdom of God, your heart grows for the things of the kingdom. Giving generously leads to increased spiritual growth and vitality. You become the recipient of your own giving. This may be why the Bible has more to say about money than prayer. Conventional wisdom suggests that if you want a closer relationship with God and a stronger, more dynamic faith, you need to spend more time in prayer. I wouldn’t dispute that other than to say that the generous Christians I am privileged to know seem to also enjoy a fulfilling and deepening relationship with Christ.
Next page »