Faith & Insight: He is a generous God
I’ve been confronted with the generosity of God. I see his generosity all around me. I’ve seen the generosity of God working in many believers. When you think of generosity what comes to your mind? Generosity has been defined as “giving over what is good,” to be spontaneous, willing to give, and it also describes someone who “open-handedly” shares. Do you see God as generous? How you understand the role generosity plays in your life will say more to you about your faith and your understanding of the Gospel than any other aspect of your faith. Most of us would like to think of ourselves as generous people. You could say the opposite of generosity is greed. Nobody likes to see themselves as greedy.
When you think of generosity the first thought that comes to your mind is money. But the character of generosity also applies to your possessions — your home — your time — your priorities — your gifts and your walk with God.
You can’t separate your acceptance of God’s grace from the practice of generosity in your life. You must be generous because God is generous. That is his nature. Because his nature is generous, if you’re a follower of Christ, you must seek to imitate Christ. Here’s the problem: Chris Willard states in his book Contagious Generosity “most American Christians believe that we have to preserve our wealth in order to meet our needs and that being generous is a matter of convenience.” Chris means we believe Christians should be generous but at the same time we feel free to be generous at our discretion, being generous only with what we can, when we can, and never burdened by a compulsion to be generous.
I want to be generous. I would like to think my wife and I are generous but many times our generosity is clouded with our attitudes and our judgments of those who are on the receiving end of our generosity. Over the years we’ve been on the receiving end of the generosity from others. God always surprises us with the generosity of others. Generosity flows out of a believer who’s touched by and gripped by the grace of God in his or her life.
The prophet Elijah and the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings saw the generosity of God. God provided abundantly for Elijah and when he was told to go to the widow of Zarephath and challenge her to make him bread, she had to trust the generosity of God he would keep on providing flour and oil to make the bread. God provided the flour and oil generously for 31/2 years. Do you see the generosity of God in your life? Are you willing to make bread with the flour and oil God gives to you trusting him to keep on providing? How could you become more generous? Christians should be the most generous people in Carson City because they’re gripped by the love of God in their life.
Ben Fleming is pastor of Silver Hills Community Church