I used to think generosity was a characteristic reserved for two special groups of people: the very rich and the very holy. I was neither (still am not!). Not wanting to be selfish or anything, but I didn’t feel much like draining my very small bank account unless I had to.
The problem was, I had a skimpy understanding of generosity. Maybe you do too.
Eventually I learned that not only is being generous with our time, talents, and treasure something Christians are called to, I discovered that generosity is genius.
You see, generosity has nothing to do with how much money you have or how holy you are. It has everything to do with understanding that God has given us all things. Every day is an adventure in which we can share His gifts, and get them back again.
If you’re not feeling very generous right now, let me give you four reasons why you’d be smart to explore God’s gift of generosity.
Number one, generosity changes lives. It blesses us, enriches us, and makes life better.
Jesus’ last recorded words – quoted by the apostle Paul in Acts 20:35 – were, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When you’re generous, both parties get blessed – but the giver gets “more” because God fills up your account again!
Second, generosity connects us with others. Proverbs 11:25 says that “he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
When you share from your life – anything from a phone conversation to donating to a homeless shelter – your relationships with others get stronger.
Third, generosity helps us invest in what matters most.
Your heart goes where your money flows. It’s a big tip-off of who or what you value. Jesus cautioned us from storing treasures on earth, where they can rot or be stolen. Instead He said to focus on the sort of treasures that belong in heaven.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)
What do you think deserves your hard work, your hours, and your financial backing? Fast cars, big houses, the latest fashions? Or your family and friends, the church, your community, and the world?
Here’s one last thought about generosity: Jesus says generosity frees our hearts.
Think about it. If our values lean toward possessions, overachieving, and gaining recognition, we can never let up. We have to keep striving, achieving, competing, and winning. That produces dysfunctional relationships and hard hearts. But if people, truth, joy, and service are our top values, all that is free for us to share.
Since everything is from the Lord, the more we share it, the more we are blessed by God to share more.
So, if you aren’t feeling very generous, maybe you need to reevaluate how you define generosity. You’ll feel like a genius with all the blessings you’ll experience.
Find out more about generous giving – 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