“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25 NLT
The true spirit of generosity is in short supply these days. Sure, there are still plenty of people giving money for worthy causes and writing checks to underwrite everything from political parties to homeless shelters, but biblical generosity seems to be something different altogether. There is a certain selflessness and sacrificial attitude that accompanies biblical generosity. It is not giving out of a surplus or for the tax benefits, it is having a heart of concern and care for those less fortunate and then doing something about it – willingly, gladly and generously. It is giving based on kindness, not coercion. “Your kindness will reward you…” (Proverbs 11:17 NLT). It is generosity that is motivated by compassion, not compensation. In other words, the truly generous person does not give to get. Yet, interestingly enough, God promises to reward those who give with blessings. They will prosper. They will be refreshed. Their willingness to give freely will result in a supernatural supply that allows them continue to do so. It reminds me of the old adage, “You can’t out give God.”
And the kind of generosity we are talking about here is not limited to money. We can be generous with our time, talents, energy, and other resources. Some people are generous with their possessions, making their homes, cars and other resources available to anyone and everyone, because they understand they are gifts from God to use for His glory and the good of others. Others give of their time, even though they are just as busy as the next person. They realize that people are more important than deadlines giving ourselves away for the good of others is more important than getting things done.
The opposite of generosity is stinginess, and stinginess is motivated by selfishness. The stingy person is unwilling to share because they are too self-consumed and self-centered to allow themselves to think about the needs of others. Stingy people tend to put their hope in their possessions. They fear losing them. They are convinced that if they were to share what they have, their worth would somehow be diminished. So they keep it all to themselves, hording their time, talents and treasures for their own use. But “riches won’t help in the day of judgment…” (Proverbs 11:4 NLT). “Be stingy and lose everything…” (Proverbs 11:24 NLT). “Trust in your money and down you go!” (Proverbs 11:28 NLT).
True generosity requires a regenerated heart. Only God can transform a naturally selfish heart into a selfless one. He alone can give us the capacity to give compassionately. Godly people are generous people. They are giving people. Because their God is a generous, giving God. They have a refreshing influence over others. Their generosity is contagious, spreading through the community and pointing others to the generosity of God Himself.
Father, You are a generous, giving God. You gave Your own Son so that we might have new life. You give us undeserved grace and mercy each and every day of our lives. Make us a generous people who gladly give of ourselves as a reflection of Your generosity to us. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men