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True Generosity

August 23rd, 2011

“A generous man will himself be blessed. Proverbs 22:9 NIV

“Generosity is not the size of your gift, but the measure of your joyful sacrifice.”

My thoughts today are about “true generosity.”

Generosity does not begin with a need or a gift, but is first the settled disposition within a willing heart. Generosity is not measured by the size of your gift, but by the measure of your joyful sacrifice. “If there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12. The willing heart and mind is where generosity begins.

Jesus spoke of such true generosity as He watched people give their gifts at the Temple, “This widow put in more than all those who have given . . for they put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she owned.” Mark 12:43-44. Some may be able to give more than you, but no one can give more generously than you. My dear friend, Des, has often said to me and others, “It is not ministry until it costs you something.” His words mirror his lifestyle.

Let me suggest some guidelines for a generous life. The generous life begins first with the gift of yourself to God, and then to others. They first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God . . as you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace (of generously giving yourself) also.” 2 Corinthians 8:5/7. I enjoy this paraphrase; “They had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives.” The Message.

The generous life gives with abundant measure, not meagerness; from purpose of heart, not whimsy; willingly, not begrudging need or gift; out of a joyful heart, not necessity. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. And what is the result? “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have abundance for all things . . while you are enriched in everything for all liberality . .“ 2 Corinthians 9: 8/11. Notice the after-effect – “liberality!”

Maybe God promises His blessing upon such a person because generosity reflects God’s very own character and nature as seen at the Cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . .” John 3:16. That little word “so” is there to define the indescribable, to explain the immeasurable – the generosity of a sacrifice beyond compare and without equal.

Jesus lived the quintessential, generous life! “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9. A generous life begins and ends with God’s example, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15. Live generously; you’ll live well and be happier.

My prayer for you today is that true generosity flows freely from your heart.

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