I've been taken with the idea of generosity recently; it seems to be popping up all around me (there's a lot that could be said but here is a small snapshot of my thoughts). Specifically, what does it mean to be a generous person? There are many possible ways to define generosity. Everyone would agree that helping a friend out in time of need is generous or volunteering at the local animal shelter or even donating money to Tele-Miracle to help sick kids. All of those are important and worthwhile ventures to be involved in. But I've been stuck on the question of why we are motivated to give to these ventures.
At a basic level, I think we act generously to others because that is how we ourselves would hope to be treated when the time comes that we need the assistance of others. There is a certain sense of helping with the thought of what we might get in return; whether we are totally conscious of this or not. Deeply connected to this symbiotic relationship is the feeling we get when we help others— a self-fulfilling satisfaction. We may not always admit it but it feels good to help out someone else. We are proud of what we have done.
All of this raises the question of how we are supposed to act as followers of Christ. Do we give generously of our time, money, and resources when it is convenient for us? When we can get something in return? When it is done out of pity or with self-righteousness? NO! We are called to give generously in a selfless manner for no other reason than the love of Christ which dwells in us. Our generosity is to be modeled after God's generosity who continually offers a fresh start through repentance, who showers undeserved blessings upon us, and who gave of Himself sacrificially on the cross for the sake of the whole world. A dear Scripture verse bears this truth: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16)
God gave sacrificially for everyone knowing that His gift would be rejected and mocked by some but received by others. He gave not with mind to what He will get in return but out of self-giving love for us who He made in His image. It is His love that characterizes this gift. It is my prayer that we may be challenged to a selfless generosity spurred by God's self-giving love as we see those around us as fellow image-bearers of God and show them love as God Himself loves all.
Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.