America is a very prosperous country, but we are far from generous. Yet, we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that we are generous. We believe that giving a gift to a stranger at Christmas is generous. We believe that giving a 10% tithe is generous. We believe that volunteering at a soup kitchen is generous. We believe that giving money to a third world country in need is generous. But few of us have been so generous to the Lord that we’re willing to give Him all we have because He is all we need (Mark 12:41-44).
This time of year, we hear numerous times, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Here, the emphasis on generosity is in the giving, not the receiving. But, when we’re given something truly generous, we are blessed. The American culture is selling us short because its focus is on the giving and not the receiving.
When we don’t give, or when we refuse a gift, we are refusing a blessing. God desires to bless us every day. He doesn’t ask for anything in return. He never wanted anything in return, and that’s why He’s given to us so generously. There is no way we can repay Him for His gift – the gift of life and salvation. That’s generosity. Doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.
God gives this gift to everyone, but not everyone will receive His blessing. That’s a second element of generosity – giving anonymously or even if your gift is not received. At the very least, we tend to want a, “Thank You” but for a generous heart, that is still expecting too much. Generosity means completely setting our own intentions and ideas aside. It means allowing others the ability to use the gift we give them in any way they choose.
As we translate this concept of giving generously into the Christmas season, it doesn’t mean we should want to receive more Christmas gifts so we can bless the gift giver more. No, that has nothing to do with generosity. It has everything to do with selfishness and pride. Instead, it means we should be encouraged to give of our entire self so we can bring glory to God during His most precious hour, while encouraging those we love to do the same. Generosity doesn’t mean giving so much that our bank account becomes bankrupt, instead it means we should give so much of our talents, time, character and love that our souls become bankrupt. When our souls become desolate, we realize that we MUST lean on the Lord’s support to continue with our daily life. At that point, generosity has become such a part of our lives that we feel incomplete without the Lord’s outpouring in our lives.
As you walk through the mall this Christmas trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, don’t think of yourself as giving generously. Rather ask God to reveal to you how He can make you more generous by impacting the lives of those you love. Pray for His generous Spirit to fill you, making you more like Him.
Becoming a generous person doesn’t come only at Christmas time, it is a lifestyle, met by understanding your own worth and being able to give that value to others, while accepting gifts with gratefulness because you know that they are blessing another. It doesn’t just take practice to become a generous person; it takes an entire mental, emotional and spiritual shift. This change can only occur with the help and leading of the Lord.
The most generous people accept that roll with grace. They know they make a marvelous impact on the world and they’re blessed by their own generosity. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” God wants you to reap many blessings, but first we must sow with a generous heart.
Read more of Melinda’s personal thoughts on her blog: www.MelindaLaging.com