What Do You Want To Be? Day 2: Be a Giver
If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. (Leviticus 25:35, ESV)
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV)
If you want to learn about generosity, there are lot of places to read and learn more about it. Even in the world, it’s common to hear about being generous and donating to charities, helping the homeless, and visiting those in need. We can find a lot of ways to be generous and suggestions on where to start, though the world often looks at generosity in a different light. When people are asked why they are generous, they may say that since they have the means, it makes them feel as though they’ve accomplished a good deed. I’m not trying to discredit any outpouring of generosity, but today I want to attempt to portray God’s view on generosity.
When we think of the character of Jesus, we know He is generous in so many ways: in mercy, grace, love, peace, understanding, forgiveness, and much more. As Christians, we are supposed to emulate Christ and follow in His footsteps. Simply put, if Jesus is generous, then we ought to be generous as well. I understand that it’s much easier said than done, but let’s look a little closer at the ways we can be generous.
The first example of generosity is giving money to those in need. This could be to a homeless person on the side of the road or even to someone in our church that may be struggling. We read in Leviticus 25 of how we should support those around us when they are in need, including providing a place to stay. If someone in our family were struggling in this way, we would take care of them; the Lord says to treat other believers in this same way. There are people in my own life who demonstrate generosity, displaying their love for others. They buy gifts, take people out for dinner and coffee, and are quick to voice that they don’t need or desire reimbursement. It’s wonderful to experience this sort of generosity, and we should be willing to be generous in our lives as well.
Another area in which we can be generous is with our time: spending it to help others rather than being mostly self-focused. In our current culture that glorifies being busy, being generous with our time is very meaningful. Taking time out of our day to call someone on the phone or even stop by with some coffee just to talk can totally change their day, especially someone who is widowed and may be feeling lonely. What if we went and spent an afternoon with them just to visit and talk? I often feel like I rush from one thing to the next, but I should be more present as Christ was when He was here on this earth.
Lastly, I think of being generous in things like patience, forgiveness, kindness, grace, and mercy. These were all things in which the Lord was overwhelmingly generous, and we should mirror His behavior. My patience always seems to be tested when I’m running late for something—either because of traffic or something equally frustrating. Instead of reacting in anger, which accomplishes nothing in that situation, imagine the difference if I demonstrated patience instead. If we were generous in all these areas, I guarantee our relationships with others would be totally different. We’re told in 2 Corinthians 9 what the results will be if we are generous in all things—we will “reap bountifully.”
May we strive to be givers in all aspects, including our time, and remember that all we have been given is through God and from God.