"You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God". 2 Cor. 9:11Generosity is a simple but often misinterpreted word. Some of us think that whenever we give we are being generous. Whenever we serve to do something for a church ministry. When we give sandwiches to the homeless, drop a few coins to the beggar who sits by the steps at the trains station, drop some dollar bills to the offering basket, or donate a few rolls of paper towel to your kid's classroom and we think that we are being generous. True generosity demands sacrifice and result. Generosity is measured by the extent of pain and discomfort it causes the giver (as the woman who gave all she had) as a measure of the faith Generosity is voluntary - giving up something we value to meet someone's need without expectation of repayment.
Self-preservation hinders generosity. Why is it that we give only when it is comfortable. We stop giving when it begins to hurt. God never fails to acknowledge any generous act that we do to those who are in need. He said in Matthew... that when we give to the least of these then we are doing it to Him. But we are so focused on our own comfort that we miss the point of generosity. We set our thermostat to allow no discomfort at all. When we give, we reserve enough to secure our status quo. We give when it does not endanger our situation because we trust our lives in the things we own or have control over.
Generosity is a function of faith. We can only give generously when we know the One who gives and takes away. But we have to take the plunge first. Tim and I have experienced countless times when we gave something that made my heart beat a little faster - when my faithlessness is determined to dictate my actions - but we decided to anyway. It has been a consistent experience for us that God provided far more than we could ever had the guts to give, in ways we'd never imagined.
Generosity is for the rich. The problem is we measure rich by an abundant excess of wealth and resources sitting doing nothing in bank accounts and other material possessions. We say, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg can afford to be philanthropic because they are billionaires. And we should be beneficiaries to their charitable projects because we are not like them. But richness is far more than money. Health, relationships, experiences, skills, knowledge, time, your personality, just to name a few. As the bible says, "You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion." We are given a lot to be generous - in every occasion. Consider yourself as the funnel of goodness to the world in your immediate surroundings. Let the blessings flow and watch how God pours his blessings. We are all rich who rely on the Source. We may not have the same wealth but we are all rich through God.
Acts of generosity generate thanksgiving. Somewhere along the line, the name of God will be glorified because His people whom He provides abundantly were generous. The goodness of God will be known to more people because His people believed that God is enough when generosity was required. We have to practice generosity. And just like aerobic exercise do to our hearts, generosity makes our faith stronger and less dependent on material things. Our sufficiency comes from the Lord.