(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Tim Keller entitled, Counterfeit Gods.
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Let’s play Jeopardy. What question do these answers answer?
“I won’t have enough.”
“They didn’t appreciate it.”
“They don’t deserve it.”
The question? “What prevents people from being generous?” This question was posed on quora.com and this reflects some of the answers. (You can read the whole thing here: https://www.quora.com/What-keeps-one-from-being-more-generous)
Here’s what those answers say to me about generosity.
“I can be generous when I have enough for myself.” This is generosity motivated by sufficiency.
“I can be generous only when people appreciate my generosity.” This is generosity motivated by reciprocity.
“I can be generous only to people that I believe deserve my generosity.” This is generosity motivated by superficiality.
The list could go on for reasons why we choose not to be generous. Perhaps the bottom line is my heart is being challenged by a love of wealth over a love of God. Generosity is an attitude and action that flows directly from a heart filled with grace.
The only way we can live a life of generosity is to have a heart filled with the generosity of Christ.
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
When I realize the generosity I have been given, I realize Jesus was generous with me, even though he had to give up what was his, even though I don’t always appreciate it, even though I don’t deserve it. When I struggle to be generous, I need to go back to the cross and once again experience the generosity that Jesus has shown to me.
When that fills my heart, I can given generously even when it seems like I won’t have enough, even when someone doesn’t appreciate it, even when I don’t think they deserve it. Look at the Corinthian Christians:
2 Corinthians 8:2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
Generosity comes when we give ourselves FIRST to the LORD…because generosity is a heart issue. Remember what happens when my heart is changed from love of money to love of God.
- I remember everything I have is the LORD’s.
- I realize that I need to ask, “God want do you want me to do with your money?”
- He teaches me to give first 10% back to him.
- He leads me to trust he will provide.
- Which leads me to live a life of generosity.
“Better to give than to receive.” I pray you experience all the blessings God gives as you live a life of open-handed generosity. Remember the LOVE of wealth will always leave you bankrupt. Let the LOVE of God fill your heart and let the LOVE of God lead you into a life of grace and generosity!
Apply: Be generous today. Buy someone’s meal. Send an extra gift to your church. Send a “back to school card and gift to a college student you know.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being generous with us so that we might generous on all occasions! AMEN.