Christians have been called by God to many things, some callings are easy to follow, others take effort, even sacrifice. We’ve been called to these things because we are extensions of God in this world and He uses us to be His hands, feet and mouthpieces in His creation. In everything we are to serve God as He uses us to prepare ourselves and others for better things to come.
To do this takes a generous heart, one that is willing to think of others before themselves. It takes a readiness to go the extra mile for someone even if it may cost the giver in the end.
Generosity does not come easy for many. The message the world gives is to live for today. We hold in high worldly esteem those who are the most powerful, the most wealthy, and the most famous for their status more than for their charity. It takes little effort to get trapped in this cycle of adoration because the world expects it from us.
But God holds in higher esteem those who have generous hearts towards others. He looks to us to serve others with our gifts and to help those who find themselves in any kind of need.
Paul was speaking to the elders in Ephesus when he said, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). Before this he warned them that people would come after he left them who would twist the truth and try to lead them astray (fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; Acts 20:29). Even in these times when trial was all around them, he urged them to do the right things according to God as overseers of the faith and to do so with generous hearts.
Generosity is such a vital makeup of the Christian spirit that God provided an outlet through tithing. In tithing we exercise generosity by giving to God the firstfruits of all we receive for the benefit of His ministry here on earth. I heard a story of a missionary in Africa who received a knock on the door of his hut one afternoon. Answering, the missionary found a native boy holding a large fish in his hands.
The boy said, “Reverend, you taught us what tithing is, so here. I’ve brought you my tithe.” As the missionary gratefully took the fish, he questioned the boy. “If this is your tithe, where are the other nine fish?” At this, the boy beamed and said, “Oh, they’re still back in the river. I’m going back to catch them now.”
The boy had shown that he understood that giving had to come from a generous heart that puts others first. The missionary had taught him that, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer, another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessings will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:24-25).
Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). So, is Jesus saying that they way to become rich is to give? That depends on what you consider the word rich represents in this context.
What Jesus is saying is that those who give of themselves here on earth will reap for themselves rewards in heaven. He is telling those who would listen that those who are known for their generosity will receive rewards far above their earthly treasures because, “whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17).
Someone once said that there are 3 types of givers: One type is like a piece of flint. It has to be struck by some object to give, and then only produces sparks and chips. Another type is like a sponge. The more it is squeezed, the more it gives. Then there is the type like the honeycomb. It continually gives, always overflowing with sweetness. Which type are you?
The Lord loves a cheerful giver and He expects His children to live their lives with generous hearts. He urges you to live for the life to come and not to find your satisfaction by hording things here on earth where moth and rust destroy. Make generosity something you are known for and trust in God to shower you with the rewards he has promised you in heaven for the generosity you expressed here on earth. Please pray with me:
Father, forgive us for those times we only thought of ourselves when we were given the opportunity to be generous to those in need. Help us to overcome our selfishness so that you may be glorified. Amen.