A few weeks ago I spoke on Simple Generosity as part of our Simple Church teaching series. We may have moved onto a new teaching series but this topic has continued to be featuring regularly at the ‘inside my head conversations that only I can hear’.
Generosity is at the heart of the gospel message, it is the very essence of Grace to give someone something that they do not deserve or have not earned.
The question I keep asking myself is “Am I Living Generously?”
As a nation we are one of the wealthiest in the world, we give more to overseas aid per capita than any other nation, we have national fundraising events such as Comic Relief, Children in Need and the London Marathon that raise millions for charity in the UK and beyond but are we really generous?
You see, here is my thought… Bear with me here…
If I have £10 in my pocket and I give it to a rough sleeper rather than buy myself a drink or two at the pub (or the coffee shop!) am I being generous? It hasn’t really cost me anything. I had the money in my pocket. I was going to spend it anyway and it probably saved me having to go to the gym to work off the pint of beer or the high fat hazelnut latte anyway.
And as a benefit to my supposed generosity, I feel good about myself because I have helped someone in need.
Surely being generous must cost me?
Recently I was in America where it is usual to tip 20% when you eat out, which to a Brit, especially with the present exchange rate, sounds like you are being really generous! But that is what is expected. So if you tip 20% it hasn’t cost you more than expected and the waiter is not blown away by your generosity because it was also what they expected!
Surely generosity has to do with going beyond the norm.
Jesus said to his followers in Matthew 10:8 “You have been treated generously, so live generously.” or in Luke 6:30 “If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
If you are giving someone a lift to work because they offered to give you one of their homemade cupcakes at lunch time, that is not Living Generously that’s just living tit for tat.
If the LOVE of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10) then maybe the opposing attitude of Living Generously is the root of all love?
Generosity should cost you, really cost you. Not just in financial terms as there is always a risk in being generous. You may stretch yourself to give something away and then your gift could be ignored, rejected or even resold on Ebay.
Besides generosity is so much more than money. I will continue to ask myself the question “Am I being generous with my time, my attitude, my heart as well as my wallet?”
The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
Proverbs 11:24-25 (The Message)
let me ask you…
how big is your world?