There was a time in my life when I thought the word “generosity” was reserved for only two very special groups of people: those that are very rich and those that are very holy.
I believed this when I was in my early twenties until I realized that being generous has nothing to do with how much money we have or don’t have. It also has nothing to do with our perceived holiness.
Being generous has everything to do with understanding that God has given us all things: time, energy, money, talent – and that all these things belong to Him.
God wants every day be an adventure for us where He’s bringing people across our path so that we can be “genius” with our time, energy, money and talents.
God also showed me through His word that to be smart – and we should be smart – we should spend carefully. To be wise – and we should be wise – we should save regularly. But to be genius, we should give extravagantly.
For many of us – myself included – the idea of having extravagant generosity is scary and might sound like it’s for someone else.
So I’d like to list three specific reasons why generosity is, in fact, genius – and why God intended it for all of us.
1. Generosity changes our lives.
The very last word we ever hear in the Bible from Jesus is a quote from Acts where the apostle Paul quotes Jesus and says, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
It’s the ultimate win-win. When we give, not only do we get a good feeling, but also the people receiving our gift get a good feeling.
2. Generosity connects us with others.
“A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
When we give and when we’re generous of our time, talent and money, we will naturally find ourselves getting involved in the lives of other people. We might even find that we allow others to use our belongings, like our car or our house.
3. Generosity helps us invest in what matters most.
Where our money goes tells us who or what we worship. For some people, it’s success. For others it’s their work or their kids. And for some it’s a spouse. We worship these things because deep down, we expect them to produce security, significance and happiness.
But Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:19-20)
Now, by the way, Jesus is not saying it’s wrong to save because Scripture tells us elsewhere to save. He’s also not saying that it’s wrong to prepare for the future or to have something nice.
This is a prohibition against being selfish and greedy, and it’s a warning not to invest in things that won’t last or won’t come through or can be stolen.
Instead, we’re advised to invest in “treasures in heaven.” When we give our money and time to help other people come to Christ and make disciples, we’re investing in heavenly – eternal – treasure that yields a hundred percent return. Not only that, but it’s like there’s a bank account in heaven with each of our names on it that can’t be destroyed.
This is the genius of generosity.
For more information about what the Bible teaches about finances, check out Chip Ingram’s series The Genius of Generosity.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip