Generosity: The New Lifestyle

As a twelve-year-old boy, I was alone in my thoughts one afternoon, dreaming about all the things I could buy with one million dollars. The previous day I had been asked what I would do if I were given one million dollars. How would I choose to spend the money? I thought of many different fun things to buy. I thought about how much chocolate I could buy. I wondered how far I could make it stretch if I went on holidays for the rest of my life. To me, a sum of money that large could last forever!

That question showed what was really in my heart. What would I do if there were no limits? If I could say yes to anything, how would I spend my time? I dreamt of indulging in pleasures. I thought I would be happy if only I had cool stuff. Now I realise the thing stopping me from being happy was not my lack of things and grand holidays, but instead a desire to live a life of generosity.

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 says ‘6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully[d] will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency[e] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they[f] will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

These verses can be used to make many different points, but I want to highlight the use of sowing and reaping as an example of generosity. A farmer sows for a season, and during that season does not plant a single seed. Instead, he plants thousands of seeds for days on end! He will not stop until the field is covered. In the same way, giving should not be seen as single, one-time events, but instead as seasons of giving over and over. I am not talking about giving time, energy, or other resources. I am specifically talking about money. There may be times when it is financially impossible to invest and give thousands of times per year, but when that season comes, it is up to you to take advantage of it.

If only I understood the importance of a generous heart when I was younger, I would have started to see my life take a different direction earlier. However, I did begin to see that each coffee I bought someone, each $10 for a brother, or even each McDonald’s $1 frozen drink for a friend made a difference and started to open my world…

Going All In

I was thinking about my life in the context of eternity. I am alive for a short time (120 years if I’m blessed), yet there are many times I don’t live like it. In my studies, I don’t always give 100% of my effort, and in my job, I don’t always go the extra mile. Most importantly, I realised I was not going all in with my relationship with God.

Can you relate to this? In many situations there is room for improvement, but how far should you go? Your time is limited, so how should you prioritise it?

Colossians 3:23-24 says ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Matthew 22:37-38 says ‘Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.’

Therefore, do the best work you can, knowing you are serving God, not your boss/lecturer/teacher/pastor and prioritise your relationship with God above all else.