November 21, 2018

Living a Generous Life

You’re trying to get out the door, but your hands are full. Car keys are looped around your thumb, your hand grasping onto your phone while also balancing a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, your other hand is holding onto a variety of bags and boxes and things start to slip.

Perhaps this scenario sounds familiar, but doesn’t life also get like this? There are many things we hold onto, whether it be material possessions, dreams, schedules, or relationships. We may start to hurry around, focusing on our own time and resources. Our hands are so full, grasping and clinging, afraid to let go and trust God. And the more we do that, the harder it is to see beyond our life’s walls.

But we are called to live generously, just as Jesus lived generously. Generosity is more than just giving; it is the process of living a life that is open-handed and open-hearted. It is a decision of not living attached to the world, but having a mindset of eternity. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

Life is about more than us and the present moment. Our lives affect those around us, and the effect can be eternal and lasting. So how can we be in this world, but live set apart, living generously for the glory of God?

We can give our time

We are all given the same amount of hours in a day, in a week, in a month and year, but how do we choose to spend that time? Does time become something that we neglect or squander? Is it filled so full that we can barely think straight? What if we started to see our time as a gift, one that we give beyond ourselves, for our families, for the community?

We are called to reach our communities, nation, and world with the love and hope of Jesus to all. City Reach and Reach Trips are great ways to put this into action. Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV).

There are many other ways to share your time. Spend time with your loved ones and friends, doing both fun things and serving others. Opportunities are everywhere: In your workplace to listen to someone who just needs to talk, visiting those who might be lonely or not have family around, or maybe help clean or cook for someone who is in need. Be creative! Sharing your time could be as simple as inviting people over for a meal or a game night.

We can share our finances and talents

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” Matthew 25:44-45 (NIV).

This verse challenges us to ask some hard questions. When we love other people, are we loving them like we would love Jesus? Are we seeing their worth and value as they are made in the image of God? Are we using our gifts and our resources to help them?

But the truth is, we can give and give. We can give of time, finances, gifts, and so much more. But what is at the heart of it? God wants us to be generous, to help and bless others, but with the right heart. We give with our heart, not our hands. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV). It pleases God when we give with sincere love, with an obedience and reliance on Him. That is what being set apart and having an open heart does. It helps us to let go of ourselves, emptying our human tendencies, and letting the Holy Spirit transform us from the inside out.

When we give in humility, realizing our dependence on Jesus, being generous out of a loving obedience to Him, and seeking Him through prayer and reading the Bible, things change. Situations change. We change.

So let go, give it all to God, and cling onto His plan.

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Here are a few ways that you can share your time, gifts, and finances

City Reach and Reach Trips
Giving Above and Beyond

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