The most important generosity lesson is to stay mindful of the true source of all good things.
We have all been wise and we have all been fools. But let us not be fools in this matter, for it is one of life’s supreme lessons. Only a fool loves a gift more than the giver of the gift. Life, love, free will, all your fond memories, the dreams that fascinate your heart, everything you’ve ever had and anything you will have in the future... are all gifts from the Giver of all good things. You owe nothing to anyone other than the Giver of all good things, but to Him you owe everything. Generosity is about recognizing that nothing belongs to us and that everything belongs to Him. It’s about embracing our role as stewards of His treasures. It’s about listening to His voice and direction, so that we know how to enjoy and share all the blessings He has entrusted to us.
When we speak about generosity we often do so in the context of stewardship. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. As Christians, we are taught that our time, talent, and treasure are all on loan to us from God — and that one day we will have to give an account for the way we managed them. The world says to do whatever you want with your time and talent, and as for your treasure — “It’s your stuff!” “You earned it; it belongs to you.” “What does God have to do with it?” “As for other people, let them take care of themselves.” When we forget the true source of things, disorder begins to reign in our lives. God wants to lead us out of the chaos of this world and into the peace and clarity of His order.
Are you a good steward of what God has entrusted to you? Think about it for a moment today. If you consider the past twenty-four hours, were you a good steward of this time? How much time did you waste? How much time did you spend that didn’t help you become a-better-version-of-yourself? Are you a good steward of the talents God has entrusted to you? Are you using them to create the most good for the most people? Are you a good steward of the treasure God has entrusted to you? Are you grateful for the money and possessions that flow through your life? Are you generous with the things you have? Do you make them available to others to enjoy, or do you guard them jealously? Are you generous with the money you have at your disposal?
It’s humbling to think about these questions, but unless we take time to reflect on how purposefully we are approaching our role as stewards we cannot grow in this area. Now think about your talents.
Stewardship is one of the largest responsibilities God places on our shoulders. It is impossible to live up to this responsibility unless we approach it with great intentionality.
Now, here is today’s generosity habit.
Be generous with God. It is said that God will never be outdone in generosity. Jesus speaks of a return of a hundredfold in this world and eternal life in the next (Mark 10:31). How generous are you with God?
I suppose it is hard to be generous with someone who has everything and needs nothing. And yet, like any loving parent, God yearns to be with his children. God yearns to be with us. He delights in spending time with us (Proverbs 8:31). One way we can be generous with God is by spending time with him. Not just the leftovers, the scraps of our day, but dedicating a specific time each day for prayer is one way to be generous with God.
Honoring the Sabbath is another way to be generous with God. The author of Malachi poses this question: “What man would dare rob God?(Malachi 3:8)” But we do, don’t we? The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, and I know from my own experience how easy it is to become preoccupied with the things of this world on Sunday. It requires a real intentionality to honor the Sabbath.
But the hardest way for us to be generous with God is by surrendering to his will for our lives. “Thy will be done, on earth.” That means in our daily lives. “Thy will be done.” In everything we think, do, and say. Surrendering ourselves to the will of God is the Mount Everest of spirituality and a great opportunity for each of us to be generous with God.
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