Generous living

Friday, March 20

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 8-9

A word the Lord has been laying on my heart in recent days is generosity. That might seem counterintuitive to the desperation we see in so many right now, but the Lord’s concerns are often counter-intuitive to man’s concerns.

What is generosity? When the Lord laid this word on my heart a few days ago I was made to turn to these chapters in II Corinthians 8-9 where I believe the apostle Paul gives us a definition of generosity.

The defining example of generosity he points to is the “churches of Macedonia” (8:1) who gave as an expression of grace (verse 8:1) that extended beyond their perceived ability (8:3). In times like we are experiencing now, it is easy to default to “ability giving.”  But when we do we tend to define “ability” in terms of self-preservation. And we may see a crisis as an excuse for the flesh to behave in unseemly ways. But the key to getting from “ability giving” to “generous giving” is in understanding that the objective is not a personal sense of satisfaction or a warm, fuzzy feeling that may ensue. But for the edification of others to the glory of God (9:12-13).

On the surface we might assume we are talking here about financial generosity. That is certainly part of it.  I was compelled to leave extra in tip at the hotel I stayed at in Indiana earlier this week. But if we confine our understanding of generosity to financial matters, we miss the bigger point. Generous giving is a byproduct of generous living. Generous living is the byproduct of God’s grace in our lives.

On the surface we share a common experience with our neighbors and co-workers right now. We share the same relational and economic strains. We get it. And this enables us to empathize with those in need.  

But there is more to the story with us for what we have to offer those around us. You are a steward of God’s grace. And as a steward of God’s grace, live generously! Be generous with your smiles to those beset with anxious frowns. Be generous with your encouragement to those whose eyes are glued to the daily news reports. Be generous with your patience to those who are frantic for their daily provisions. Be generous with your hope in Jesus Christ to those whose trust is in the fading order of this temporal world.

And our God will “make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (II Corinthians 9:8)           

Prayer: Heavenly Father. May I spend your grace generously for the good of others.

Pastor Marc