What do you think of when you hear the word generosity? Who do you think of? Are there particular thoughts or ideas or pictures that flash through your mind? For me, this word has become increasingly influential and foundational in my thinking, my decision-making, and the way that I view God and others.
In 2 Corinthians 9:11 God says through Paul, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” This verse has become a life verse of sorts to me. Through it God has challenged me to a new level of openness – with my time, talents, and treasures. Let’s break it down a bit.
“You will be enriched” – literally speaking, enriched is defined as improving or enhancing the quality or value of something. So, God will improve and enhance the quality and the value of my resources – He will provide abundance and increased capacity in material, emotional, and/or relational capacities. That’s a pretty cool promise! Let’s not stop there though; why does He do this?
I’m always thankful when God is unmistakably clear in Scripture and this is certainly one of those times. He says “so that you can be generous on every occasion.” This is where I think I had missed the point before. It explicitly states so that we can be generous on every occasion – not just so that we can give something some of the time.
Merriam Webster defines generous as follows: (1) freely giving or sharing money and other valuable things; (2) providing more than the amount that is needed or normal. This second definition is the one that resulted in one of those “ah-ha” light bulb moments for me: more than what is necessary or typical or average.
There are times that I wonder, am I giving enough? Based on the definition above, I can’t help but think that there is no such thing. Perhaps a better question is, what has God given me and I am using it for His purposes? God has used this to challenge me: in the way that I spend the money that He has entrusted to me, in the way that I engage and invest in people and relationships, in the way that I use the time and talents that He has given me.
I don’t want us to miss the most important part of this: why do we seek to be a generous people? Simply put, to inspire thanksgiving and praise to God. As a people on mission to reach every man, woman, and child with the gospel, the way we are generous (or not) will have a direct impact on the way people see the gospel played out in our lives.
Are we living a generous life that allows those around us to see and experience the gospel of Jesus Christ? Are we asking God how we can be generous with what He has assigned to us? If not, I challenge you to begin doing so. If you are, praise God, and continue to increase in generosity as you grow in intimacy with our Lord! What an incredible picture it would be to see all of Christ’s people living the generous lives that He calls and equips us to experience.