How do we become generous people?
Some people make it look so easy, like they do not even have to try. It is like they have generosity hardwired into the forefront of their mind. For others, it does not come naturally and they need to work at it in order for generosity become more natural.
I am definitely in the latter camp.
Whether or not we are in the first group or the second group, like all things, generosity is a choice. However, as striving followers of Christ, when we look and see what God has to say about generosity, generosity becomes a pretty easy choice.
If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. – Deuteronomy 15:7-8
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. – 1 Timothy 6:17-19
There are more scriptures just like these, but I think we all get the point: Be generous.
When I think about my own “generosity journey,” and by no means is it completed, I have come to realize that there have been a few things that really help me grow in generosity.
I think there have been three things that have really pushed me along the generosity path: planning to be generous, surrounding ourselves with generosity opportunities, and just working at it. By no means is this a 3-step plan to achieving absolute generosity. However, it is a good starting point in assessing how we can increase our Generosity XP (experience points, gamer reference).
Planning to be Generous
Having a list means you have a plan. And more often than not, my list is more of a honey-do list–so maybe that is why I’m not a list person! Anyway, I digress.
Planning on being generous requires taking an inventory of what we have going on right now because we need to have space to be generous. Whether that is having time in our day, finances set aside, or assets available, we need to have a portion available to us in order to get this generosity quest moving. That might mean that when we look at what is on our proverbial plate, we might need to reorganize…
Wait, I think that is what I do already and it doesn’t actually give me any more space on my plate.
No, what I need to do is to make room on my plate by taking something off my plate, if indeed, it is already full.
I’m not going to tell you how or what to choose what needs to come off that plate, but your closest relationship could probably tell you that.
But me tell you, I have rarely met anyone who has a partially empty plate that they are just waiting for the right thing to fill it. But if that is you, consider filling it with generosity.
Now that we have set aside the blessings that God has sent our way, let’s look at how we can surround ourselves with generosity opportunities.
Surrounding ourselves with opportunities could mean that we put ourselves in places where there is need. It could mean that we take a look around us and see that we are already in a place where this is need. Either way, providing ourselves with chances to be generous will give us something to put on our newfound space on our plate.
Let’s get more practical. Where does God want you to be generous? What kind of giftings has He giving you? If you haven’t already, pray and ask him about it.
Listen and look.
God didn’t yell at Moses, “Hey! There is a burning bush over there!” No, Moses went over to check it out himself!
Look around you for needs that the Lord has near you. Maybe your neighbor is working on their car, go help. No time to help? Ask if they have the tools they need. No tools? Bring them lunch as they are working. Everyone needs a lunch break.
Talk to your small group. Just recently, my own small group spent time talking about how we can use generosity to further God’s kingdom. Such a good conversation! Asking others how they are generous can not only give you more ideas, but can also spur you on to greater generosity.
Just Work at It
Pastor Jon said it best: Just Do It… or was that Nike?
Either way, we need get out there and be generous. Generosity is just like a muscle. If you don’t work it out your generosity game will become weak, if you exercise it, your generosity game will become strong. I would encourage you to pray, every morning, and ask the Lord to give you the strength to act on generosity. Start small and work your way up do something bigger. Whatever you give, give with joy.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
To wrap it up, my prayer for you this: that you would actively seek the heart of Jesus. As we align ourselves with His heart, it becomes apparent how He has blessed us already. When we remember that all of the blessings in our lives come from Him, it becomes easier to give it away because we didn’t earn it. It was a gift.
Be generous with what He has given to you.