Generosity says… “I see you. I hear you. You matter. I am with you. I care.” Every time Jesus encountered someone this is what his words and actions communicated.
Every scene in the Gospels is an expression of Jesus’ generosity. Every scene in Jesus’ life has a lesson about generosity. Jesus is the astounding embodiment of Divine generosity.
I love reading and rereading the Gospels. Sometimes I will read the Gospels with one theme in mind. If you read the Gospels with a single theme like patience, perseverance, or generosity in mind, it’s amazing what you discover that you have never noticed before.
Generosity is one of the most significant themes in the Gospels. All the great figures that emerge in the Gospels are generous. Sure, you have the Widow’s Mite and other obvious acts of generosity. But you find generosity in every great Gospel figure. Mary’s response to God when the angel appeared to her was an incredible act of faith, surrender, and generosity. The Magi, traveling from afar with gifts for the infant Jesus, modelled heroic generosity. The first twelve leaving everything to follow Jesus was incredibly generous. And then there is Jesus himself. His first miracle in Cana was not a miracle of need; it was a miracle of abundance and generosity. Throughout his life he served people by teaching them, feeding them, healing them, providing spiritual leadership, and comforting them. Finally, in his suffering and death on the cross, he laid down his life for us in the ultimate act of generosity. The Gospels are a story about the triumph of generosity.
Generosity is at the heart of the Christian life, just as it is at the heart of the Gospel. For it is often through our generosity that we are able to bring the love of God to life for others in very real and tangible ways. God is by his very nature generous. God wants to convince us of his generosity, and in turn, wants us to live generous lives.
But the world doesn’t see it that way. Not surprisingly, again we stumble here upon the great divide between the way of life today’s culture proposes and the life God invites us to live. While God is inviting us to a joyful life of selfless generosity, the world is trying to seduce us into an all-encompassing selfishness. Consider some of the differences:
God invites us to a life of gratitude while the world fosters discontent. God proposes trust; the world arouses fear. God promotes giving; the world promotes getting. God invites us to co- operate with his providence while the world rallies behind the delusion of total self- determinism. God gently proposes stewardship while the world aggressively touts ownership. The world encourages entitlement, when in reality everything is a gift from God. God invites us to look out for our neighbor; the world tells us to look out for ourselves. God operates out of abundance; the world from a place of scarcity. God created us out of generosity to live generous lives; the world encourages us to live small, scared, selfish lives.
Now, here is today’s generosity habit.
Pray. Pray for someone like you have never prayed for anyone ever before. Praying for others is a beautiful act of generosity. We can all do it, but so very few of us do it enough.
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