The Generous Life

Many, if not most folks tend to be seasonal givers, event givers, ad hoc givers. We tend to give when the hat or plate is passed, when we feel guilty, when we hear of some special need, or around Christmas, when giving is a tradition.

There is nothing wrong with seasonal giving, or needs-driven giving, of course, as we are moved with love or even a sudden impulse of generosity or compassion. In fact, it may be a wonderful beginning. But it is, at best, only a beginning.

We find in Scripture that the world class givers are regular givers, and those who give as a lifestyle. We know this because they give as often out of their poverty as their wealth. Jesus spoke of the now famous widow like this (Mark 12:41-44):

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’”

“Out of poverty” is the same theme the Apostle Paul cites in commending the Macedonian Christians to the Corinthians. He says (2 Corinthians 8:2), of these believers, that “their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” We dare not wait until we are “rich” to be generous.

But there is good reason to give out of our abundance as well (1 Timothy 6:17). In fact God, the Great Giver, is our example. He bridged the gap between the spiritually rich and poor in one bold move, by giving out of His eternal wealth, giving even unto the poverty of Jesus.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,
so that you, through his poverty, might become rich . . .
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
2 Corinthians 8:9; 9:15

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