Generosity {Fruit of the Spirit}

11130167_1091535724205507_6554548932269147647_o (2)Never in the entire history of the universe did anyone abandon so much only to become so poor so that so many can become rich in grace. Our greatest model for giving is the cross of Christ, where sorrow and love flow mingled down. To be poor in Spirit is to be rich with Christ (Matt 5:3), which means, being human, we are aware of our utter need to depend on God alone

Most people have a desire to give, but not a design to give. Living generously does not means living carelessly, unwisely or haphazardly. Living generously means – while you have a plan and a will and a budget, your ultimate confidence, hope, and trust are not in these things but in the Lord your provider.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”– Anne Frank

Generosity is our response to the love of God, and not our wealth or earthly position. God does not give us more so we can live a more luxurious life, but rather, He gives us more so that we can give back freely just as we have received. God is more concerned with what we do with the 90% He has given us than the 10% tithe offering we give Him back.

“God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Generosity takes many forms. It doesn’t mean merely giving money, but also giving time, compassion, and a listening ear. Generousity is about making a difference. Authentic generosity is not a role we play or an image we project. It must come from within, motivated by love, not by a desire to get something in return. Generosity is not a natural impulse. We learn to live generously by the example of others.

John Wesley apparently used to say, “Make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” John Wesley made thousands of pounds sterling selling his books and tapes but he gave it all away. He had less than £2 in his estate when he died but he changed this world like very few people have.

The late Cecil B. Day Sr. founded the Days Inn motel chain in 1970. Cecil Day was known as a man who worked hard to produce wealth so that he could donate money to causes that honoured God. Before his death, he donated his entire estate to Christian causes and aided the work of many deserving evangelists, missionaries, and Christian works.

The Prolific writer and scholar “C.S Lewis”, lived frugally even though he was very wealthy. C.S Lewis was known for only living on 10% of his income while giving the remaining 90% to charities. Neither the extent nor the recipients of his charity are fully known. Indeed, he made valiant efforts to conceal this information. It is known that he supported numerous impoverished families, and underwrote education fees for orphans and poor seminarians, and put monies into scores of charities and church ministries.

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” – C.S Lewis

It is written (Matt 6:21), “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What a waste would it be to store up treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Why not instead store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal?

I am all for good education, entertainment, music, art, health, nutrition, etc. These are all wonderful things, but above all else, only what is done for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom will be awaiting me on the other side of eternity. My real treasures will not perish, cannot be destroyed or taken away by somebody else. My real treasure is going to go with me after I die physical and go from this world.

The paradox of generosity is that when we give freely, without being repaid in any way, we truly receive. What do we receive? We receive the joy of giving, of serving, and of being approved by our Lord. Your service to God may not make headlines on earth, but it does make headlines in heaven.

Without knowing it, we may be the only Bible someone reads when we let our actions speak louder and clearer than our voices. Our motto and earnest endeavour for giving should be to: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” –  famously credited to John Wesley

Living generously is not buying your way into Heaven, it is not earning points with God because living generously is an attitude of the heart and not an obligation. Living generously should be a lifestyle habit (just like prayer is), not a competition.

When the Bible speaks of the heart, it is always referring to the centre of our personality. In-fact the problem with Judas Iscariot was his heart. Even though he knew Jesus dearly, he often used Jesus for his selfish ambition for what he could get from Jesus, and in the end ultimately buried himself in the indulgence of self-pity and did the unthinkable. Personally, I think all depression is rooted in self-pity, which is very very destructive. We should always learn to forgive ourselves because of Christ’s unending love and mercy endures forever.

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss… I will not give to the Lord that which cost me nothing, for Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. – Isaac Watts inspired