‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’
John 10:10 (NKJV)
We have a culture of generosity at our church.
When I hear about members of our church who are experiencing difficulties it is usually accompanied by a beautiful response from those around them providing support.
When bad things happen, people can be all too willing to blame God for it, declaring that He sent the trial. While God does strengthen us through trials, John’s gospel reminds us it is wrong to attribute the bad things to God. When things are killed or destroyed in your life – that is the devil’s work.
It is important to remind ourselves of God’s ways which, are so much better than our human ways.
Jesus came to bring abundance and overflowing to our lives, so that we could bring it to others.
‘Abundance’ is a word that appears 79 times in the Bible and ‘abundant’ another 23 times. It is part of God’s character to provide more than is needed – just look around you at nature. In creation, the variety of colours, of plants, fruits, birds, and animals is more than was needed.
Consider how many galaxies of stars are floating out there in space. Everywhere that Jesus went too, there was abundance not simply “just enough”.
Somewhere along the way the church fell for the belief that it was more holy to be poor. But this contradicts the commandment to be a blessing to the world. How can you bless your neighbours if you barely have enough for yourselves? God is here to bless you and bring abundance and generosity into your life – He wants us to be like Him.
In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul warns that some Christians will depart from the faith: they will go to doubt instead.
That doesn’t mean they will stop coming to Church but focusing on religious rules is not what Jesus wants us to do. Resist the devil’s lies and he will flee from you (James 4:7) because nothing is too hard for God (Luke 1:37) and He will bring victory to the defeated, healing for illnesses and breakthrough for those in bondage.
Ours is a family of givers not takers, called to be a blessing.
Generosity is not measured in amounts, but in ratios. Jesus used the example of the poor widow in Mark 12 and Luke 21. Think of the effect it has on someone to receive more than double what was expected, for example as a tip.
Generosity opens hearts up to the goodness of God.
Jesus taught his followers that if compelled (probably by one of the Roman soldiers occupying their land) to carry a bag one mile, they should cheerfully carry it two (Matthew 5:41). Generosity of spirit is unexpected and it can disarm people, leading to opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with them.
Jesus went to the wedding of a man in Cana, who was not generous. The man had not bought enough wine for the festivities. The guests had drunk it all before the party had finished. So Jesus turned 180 gallons of water into fine wine. Not only was this an excessive amount, but when this delicious vintage was credited to the groom, Jesus doesn’t speak up and correct them. Jesus lets the groom be known in his community as a very generous man, a reputation that probably followed him long after the wedding.
Allow yourself to be re-labelled as generous by God.
Be transformed! Being a generous person prevents selfishness because you are looking to help others.
It also draws you closer to God as everything you can bless others with highlights what God has done for you. Generosity also allows us to overlook faults and build other people up with our words.
Do life the Jesus way: the generous way.