Generosity is a good thing. A generous heart is a good thing.
Paul encouraged generosity among the churches. The churches would care for one another as they were going through trials (famines, war, etc.). The graciousness of one church gave life to another church.
The churches did not do this to receive; they did it out of generous hearts.
The US churches have been known around the world for their generosity. The US churches were so effective, that they deeply affected US culture to also be generous.
Except, that seems to be waning. Both the US church and the US population is becoming less generous. A lot of that is likely due to fear. However, much of that seems to also be an expectation of reciprocity. In other words, “what do we get out of it?”
The other part of the waning aspect may actually be the most concerning. This is the “washing of hands” part. I’ve given my money to the cause (church, politics, NGO, etc.). I have done my duty, and I can go on living.
We can be generous with money, but not with our hearts. We can be generous with our hearts, but not our money. However, being generous in one area and not in the other, really means that we are generous at all. It is an all or nothing situation.
It sounds harsh. It is. It sounds impossible. It just might be. Or, at least impossible without God.
How generosity actually takes place is not a fixed recipe. The people of Macedonia were generous to the best of their capability. The churches of Corinth may have had a greater capacity to be financially generous.
The people of Macedonia were not absolved of financial generosity. It was to the best of their means and through generous hearts. They prayed. Pray generously!
The people of Corinth may have been capable of giving far more than the people of Macedonia. That didn’t absolve them from praying. It is both/and.
The church, as a whole, is struggling financially. The patterns of the past are broken. Truly, the church is in (or should be in) a hugely transformative process.
While you may be giving as you have, just because a building (even the church building) is closed, doesn’t absolve you of the mission of loving people generously.
What loving a person does to live generously at this time is a little strange. It could be going “old” school and calling people. It could be texting them. It could be emailing them. It could even be sending a letter.
Giving financially is part of the Christian life, and so is living generously in others’ lives. The rhythm of life may mean different forms of generosity at different times. However, a single form of generosity is not living life generously, it is living life monotonously.
Holy Spirit, give us hearts that beat with your generosity. May we live generously through your power. Amen.
1) How do you give generously? How do you live generously?
2) Why do you think both financial and life generosity are important?
3) Which area do you need to live or give more generously? Why do you say that?