The worldwide pandemic has undermined the economy and shaken our confidence in the future. In such an age of uncertainty, it’s understandable that for many of us, it’s hard to even think about having an attitude of generosity.
Why should we? Isn’t our first responsibility to provide for our families and look out for their future? Shouldn’t we be wise and save and be prepared for what may be even more serious financial disruption? How should we proceed when we’re facing reduced hours or job furloughs or even pink slips?
I think the place to start is even more basic: How do we view God? Because the Bible teaches us that God promises to meet all our needs. Therefore, the real question is, are we living as if we believe He is good and just and trustworthy and loving?
You see, being generous (or not) points to how we view God. Generosity is basic to God’s nature. God is good, through and through. Part of that goodness is wanting the best for you and me. He gives generously all that we need.
Remember, “For God so loved the world that He gave . . .” He gave His only Son, the Lord Jesus! How unlikely is it that He will refuse to take care of you? He has promised to meet our needs.
God understands the anxiety that can overtake us when faced with uncertainty. Jesus taught about it, in the Sermon on the Mount.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:25-27, 30-34).
If we truly embrace this truth, it frees us to look around us and see the needs of our neighbors. A good definition of true generosity is simply seeing others in need and helping to meet that need. It doesn’t always mean giving financially. It can be sharing a meal or driving someone to an appointment or repairing a broken faucet or giving away a coat you never wear.
Proverbs 11:25 says “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
So if you’re feeling fearful about being generous in an age of plague, remember: fear is not from God. Have faith in God’s promises. He wants to bless you—and bless you abundantly, so that you may bless others.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
For more about developing your generosity muscle, pick up a copy of Chip’s book, 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