As Christians, we are all called to a lifestyle of generosity. Some believers have the spiritual gift of giving operating in their lives and will therefore be more inclined to give generously. (Romans 12:8) Yet all believers, regardless of our spiritual gifts or financial status are called to a life of generous giving. Here are three reasons every Christian is called to be generous.
The Generous Nature of God
If you had to choose one word to describe God, what word would you choose? I am sure that many of us would choose a word like, “Holy”, “Faithful”, “Loving”, “Merciful” or “Kind”. I wonder how many of us would choose the word “Generous” to describe God’s nature.
In the Bible, God is described as the one “who gives generously to all without finding fault”. (James 1:5) God gives life, breath, ideas, love, truth, value and “every perfect gift” not only to his children, but to all His creation. (James 1:17) When we give generously, we model to the world the nature of God.
Giving can take on many forms. We can “for-give”, we can give financially, we can give of our time, talents or professional expertise. Generous giving, whatever the form, is one of the most compelling ways we can demonstrate to a watching world the generous nature of our God.
Generosity Connects Us with Eternity
At the end of our lives, all that we have accumulated will be passed on to others. As the old saying goes, “You can’t take it with you!” I love how the New Living Translation of Ecclesiastes 5:15 puts it, “We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can't take our riches with us.”
When we give generously of our possessions, we are in a small sense detaching ourselves from the material elements of this world that will one day pass through our fingers as we move on to eternity. By giving, we say to God, “I trust you with my future, what I have is enough for me.”
This is all the more true when we give of our time, talent and resources to causes that will affect other peoples’ eternal well-being. As we invest in God’s kingdom, God will grant us eternal rewards. (Matthew 6:19-21) Missionary Jim Elliot once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Generosity Models the Gospel in a Practical Way
The Gospel is a story of God’s generosity to humankind. “For God so loved the world that He GAVE…” (John 3:16) God the Father is radically generous; He not only gave, He gave his very best, “…His only begotten Son”. (John 3:16)
Sacrificial giving is a lost treasure in a world of consumerism and narcissism. So as we act in faith to share with others what we ourselves could enjoy, we demonstrate Gospel-like love that is eye opening. When we make someone pause and ask, “Why would you do something like that for me?”, we are preparing their hearts to receive the good news of Jesus who gave sacrificially to us even when we did not deserve it.
Learning to give generously is not only a means of showing God’s character, connecting us with eternity and demonstrating the Gospel, it is also an amazing way to see God move in your life. As you learn to give, you become aware that God is your ultimate provider who promises to “supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Do not let giving and generosity stop once this Christmas season is over. Give generously and watch God move in your life, within your heart and in the lives of others who receive the benefits of your generosity.