How would you rate yourself in terms of generosity? Consider your use of your time, energy, words, money, and talent. When is the last time you gave something up in order to help someone else? What was the result of your action(s)? What were the unintended consequences?
Hetty Green was one of the richest women in the United States in the early 1900’s. But she was also a first class cheapskate.
I read a story once about Hetty’s son suffering a broken leg. Instead of taking him to the doctor, Hetty dressed her and her boy up as poor people (I wonder where she got the clothes…did she buy them?), and she tried to get her son treated for free at a clinic for the poor.
Someone recognized her, their charade was exposed, and they were refused service. Instead of paying a doctor, the millionaire tried to treat her son’s leg herself. By the time she realized her son needed real medical care, it was too late. The boy’s leg now had to be amputated.
I hope none of you would be that stingy under any conditions or circumstances. But have you ever avoided helping someone because it might impede your ability to make a particular purchase? Go on a weekend getaway? Or because it would just plain inconvenience you?
The tension is often between a scarcity v.s. an abundance mentality. We assume it has something to do with politics, being sure our needs are met first, or poor stewardship. I think it really comes down to being generous. The Bible is full of examples of giving as a sign of faith and obedience, not just an option only for those with large savings accounts. Jesus said that whether a person on the receiving end is deserving or not, friend or enemy, His followers are called to be generous.
Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15.
Generosity is a good habit and discipline to cultivate. Jesus taught that it is better to give than receive for several reasons. One, it keeps us from becoming too dependant on the stuff our culture says all of us need, i.e., new clothes, new tech, new smile, new body parts, etc.
Two, our lives are simplified when we focus on giving rather than receiving. Third, the concept of liberality means we use our resources on helping others and not just being consumers. Fourth, we realize God calls us to be stewards of the time, talent, and treasure He allows us to use while we are on the planet. Giving to others reinforces that people are more important than the stuff we accumulate. Fifth, when we are generous, we obey Jesus and we slay the tendency to be self-centered. That sounds like the kind of Kingdom I’d like to be a part of. How about you?
Paul told the Roman Christians, “If it is contributing to the needs of others, let him do it generously” (Romans 12:8). How can change your attitude and actions to become more liberal in your giving? Thank God for what He has given you and use it for His glory by being generous.
What sort of reputation do you want to cultivate? One for being generous, or one as a miser… someone who hoards what they have, even to the detriment of their own family? Hetty Green earned the nickname, “The Witch of Wall Street.” I cannot imagine a worse legacy to leave behind. Walk wisely. He or she who gives generously actually receives more.
Love is a verb,