Key Verse: In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Generosity can be practiced by anyone because, at its core, generosity is a posture of offering open hands. A widow can offer a mite as easily as a king can offer gold, frankincense and myrrh. From Scripture to to the mission field, generosity isn’t tied to one’s economic status.
Generosity is lived out as charity—acts of love that require nothing in return. Though, in recent history, charity has picked up some negative press when it is practiced with toxic paternalism. Our generous spirit, however, operates at a deep level.
A great way to gauge our generosity is to observe how children behave around friends with new and old toys . Our deep sense of scarcity would have us to believe that when we open our hands, what we’re offering will be lost forever.
These are very natural and human responses. The problem with holding on to these dispositions is that each of them are rooted in fear. When we find ourselves failing to share, there are three aspects of our lives to examine: 1. Our need for control 2. Our fear of losing something, and 3. Our fear of what others will do with their freedom.
Even when we’re not quite ready to address our unspoken needs and fears, the great thing about practicing generosity is that the practice of opening our hands increases our spiritual bandwidth for growing in other areas of our lives.
Practicing generosity when we’re resistant, suspicious, worried, fearful, and stubborn has a way of realigning our character. The Lord may love a cheerful giver, but sometimes the “giver” part comes first.
Try this experiment: Pick a ministry, project or person. Commit a sum of money to give monthly over the next year. Subscribe to their newsletter and follow them on social media. Subscribe to their social media updates and, here’s the hard part: offer a word of encouragement on all their posts (this is the 21st century version of handwriting encouraging notes).
Who did you pick?
How much are you donating?
Share this act of generosity with your mission team! (not so you can brag, but for accountability and generosity tends to be contagious).