The following is an excerpt from our Generosity Guide. You can download the whole guide for free here.
Paul is speaking to a materially rich church, Corinth, about a special collection he was taking up for Jewish believers in Jerusalem. They expressed an initial excitement but that has since waned. He brings up the striking example of the churches in materially poor areas, Macedonia, and how they were excited to be generous with their money though they didn’t have very much.
Who God Is
God is gracious and giving, and has been generous to us. The one with the most riches has disadvantaged Himself, made Himself poor, so that we would get the advantage of becoming rich. Who is like this? Our God is one who delights in making others rich.
What God Has Done
Jesus, our Lord, gave up everything for our sake. He was sent from the Trinity by the Father. Sent from a place of perfection: accepted, known, loved, always together. Came to earth as a baby and will forever be a human. With His life on earth, Jesus healed many who were marginalised, though many tried to marginalise Him. Eventually this meant His death on the cross, dying in our place. And then, even in His resurrection, not everyone believed He was who He said He was (Matthew 28.17). Jesus gave up everything so that we could have everything.
Who We Are
Through what Jesus has done, we have all we need. Every spiritual blessing, according to Ephesians 1.3. There is no lack. We will still experience marginalisation and we will still have material needs, but all of what we truly need is taken care of. This truth is what frees us when we find ourselves in places of want. We are God’s children and He cares for us with a love beyond comprehension.
What We Do
Being spiritually cared for in all ways more than we need frees us to care materially for others in need. We don’t need to participate in the consumerist system of always looking out for ourselves, trying to acquire more. The search for comfort and money is never ending there will never be enough. Through what Jesus has done we are freed from the broken system and freed to live with new generous hearts.
We practice generosity not merely out of a duty, but also because it’s a delight. Like the Macedonians, we should see giving as a privilege. We get to join Jesus in His mission by making all things new, even with our money and our stuff.
Lord, I thank you for the spiritual riches you’ve generously provided for me through Jesus. I don’t deserve them and yet you are happy to give. Give me new eyes to see how you’ve provided all my needs, transform my consumerist heart to a generous heart. May the rest of my life reflect Your generosity in all things, as You provide opportunities for me to be generous to others.
Consider the Tim Keller quote: “Anything you really love you have to stop yourself from spending.” What could it look like to move one step more towards generosity, either in action or motivation or both?
What is one small generous thing you can do for a neighbour/friend/work colleague? Follow through with that this week. Get to know the charities in your area, what kind of help do they need? Are there ways that you can work with them to bless others?