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Living Generously

August 2nd, 2013

“For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT

Generosity resides in a heart that values people more than possessions.

My thoughts and comments today are about “living generously.”

Generosity is more an attitude than your financial ability. It is about sharing what you have generously and happily because you can bless someone. It is not primarily about dollars; it is a matter of the heart. And generosity is wonderfully double-edged, blessing the person who gives as well as the person who receives. Jesus taught, “Give, and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 NIV. The specific context of this verse is about judgment and forgiveness, but the principle embraces giving and receiving, whatever the particular currency of exchange.

First, be generous with God. Giving is about planting a seed and planning on a harvest. God is the only one who can promise you a harvest, so that would be the best place to begin. Remember it is God who provided your seed. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9-10. A tithe is elementary, the minimum of giving. Read Malachi 3:10. Generosity only begins with a tithe, not ends there. Some people feel that they cannot afford to tithe; I don’t see how you can afford not to do so. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously . . For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.” See 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NIV.

Secondly, be generous with yourself. By that I mean save and invest something for your future, out of what God provides you. No farmer eats or sells all he harvests. Some of a previous harvest is always kept as seed for a future harvest. You should do the same. A goal would be 10%, but start with at least something regularly however small that might seem now. The financial principle of compounding causes even a little to multiply over a long time, more than you might realize.

Then, be generous with others. An elementary aspect to generosity is paying your financial obligations to others in a timely manner,as you promised. It is not appropriate to owe someone yet continue building debt complicating your ability to repay the first creditor, or lavishing money on yourself without faithfully dealing with the debts you owe.

Secondly, generosity is helping others in practical and tangible ways when you see the opportunity and feel directed to do so. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25 NIV. Look for occasions when what you have: money, resources, and connections, and what you can do: talents, skills, and abilities can ease the burden and circumstance of another.

Generosity resides in a heart that values people more than possessions; it does not require wealth. Generosity is a lifestyle that you choose, rather than an obligation or occasional occurrence. Generosity is a deliberate decision you make about your stewardship of things with which you have been entrusted, neither whimsical nor subject to emotion or mood of the moment. Read 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NKJV.

My prayer for you this day is that you live each day generously.

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