Have you ever got a song stuck in your head and not even dental floss would get it out? There’s a contemporary Christian song, something about “inside out,” that drives me bonkers. If I hear it coming on my music, I’ll jump it or zap it or whatever.
The song is okay, but for some reason it lodged in my head and I’d wake up in the night with it playing in my brain. Often during the day I’d become aware of this song in the background of my consciousness. This continued for weeks!
Scream! I finally asked the Lord to take it away because it was making me miserable. Well, it finally went away, though now that I’m aware of it, it may come back again.
Recently, though, an interesting idea has been trotting around that great empty space in my skull. This hasn’t frustrated me like the song did; it has intrigued me.
God has been talking to me about generosity.
Now, I know that’s what I wrote about last week, but it keeps getting better.
Here’s some things I’ve noticed about generosity:
1. A generous person tends to create a culture of generosity around himself. This word has Proto-Indo-European roots (whatever that means). The “gen” part meant “give birth, beget.” When I read that I got excited. The person who is generous creates something, gives birth to something, around himself—a culture of generosity.
He influences his family towards liberality. She impacts her colleagues at work to speak generously, kindly, and act in the same way.
2. Generosity and sacrifice are blood brothers. It’s rare that you see generosity where you don’t see sacrifice of some kind. It might be a sacrifice of money, a sacrifice of time, or a sacrifice of self, or a sacrifice of praise. But sacrifice is vitally connected to generosity. If you don’t believe it look at the generous cross of Jesus.
3. At first generosity referred to the nobility. If you know history, you know the nobility wasn’t always very noble or generous. But, the meaning of the word evolved into today’sense. I think there’s still something noble about generosity, though.
4. Generosity flows from gratitude. Because we’re beneficiaries of God’s generous heart, we want to pass it on.
Author Debbie Macomber states: “When gratitude becomes a habit, then generosity seems to follow naturally.”
Thanksgiving and generosity are twins joined at the hips. When you see what God has done for you, when you think of all his goodness, when you’re close to his heart, it makes you want to share with others who don’t have the same privileges that you have.
When you feel entitled and you’re mad because you didn’t get what you feel like is your due, you’re everything but generous.
5. A generous life is a praising, serving life. We’ve got a generous God. Let’s be generous with our praise and service to Him. Listen to the Amplified Classic translation of James 1:5, “5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of [b]the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.”
The note says, “the giving God” is a literal translation.
So, as our “giving God” lavished His blessings on us, let’s lavish our praises on Him and our service to Him. Heb. 13:15 “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” NLT
6. Generosity Isn’t for the Purpose of Controlling. When we talk about generosity, we’re not talking about creating dependence. We’re talking about giving ourselves to help other people get on their feet. Sometimes our generosity is for ourselves because we like to feel that we’re needed. Maybe that’s not bad, I don’t know. But we must be sure that we’re doing this for the person in need, not only for ourselves.
Think of a smothering mama who showers things upon her children, who protects her children, and who doesn’t let them live their life. Mama is generous to those children but it’s because of what she receives and not necessarily what they receive. She wants to be needed and loved.
Lord pity the girl who marries her son or the man who marries her daughter. They’re never going to be good enough or do enough. Mama is always there. We must be sure that our generosity is for the people who need it and not for ourselves.
Generosity doesn’t wait to be paid back.
So, here’s a homework assignment (doesn’t that phrase send shivers down your spine? Remember when the teacher would say it? Pretend you like this because it will help you be the person you want to be in the Lord).
If I were a truly generous person, what would that look like? How would I live as a result of my generosity? List five or ten things that would bubble out of your generous heart? Could you put some of these into action?
Photo by Hanna Morris on Unsplash
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Here’s the video of a message I preached recently (in English)–The incredible power of a generous life. https://www.facebook.com/life360intercultural/videos/362874027796822/UzpfSTU5ODI0ODc0NzozMDYwNjExMjk0OTk0MTQ6MTA6MDoxNTQzNjUxMTk5OjMwOTIwMTgxOTA5NjM0NDM5MjA/