Generosity. Have you ever seen it? How do you determine if you are being generous or not? I recently asked several teachers and students, “If you made $10 million dollars/year and gave away $9 million dollars/year would you consider yourself generous? You still have $1 million dollars to live on. Do you need that much?” The answers I received were very interesting.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
According to Jesus, generosity is determined by the level of sacrifice. Because the widow gave everything, the amount didn’t matter. The rich gave more, but they did not give more generously. Have you ever put all of your money in the offering?
My wife and I did it once. We wrote a check that emptied our bank account and placed it in the offering plate. We gave because we trusted God to provide our needs. And He did. He always has. In fact, we wholeheartedly agree with Paul in 1 Timothy 6:6-8 when he said,
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”
Could you be content with just food, clothing, and Jesus? Could I?
ECA family, the truth is that it is possible to give away all the excess in our lives and be TOTALLY content. How is that possible? Paul answers that question a few verses later:
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life… 1 Tim. 6:12
It’s hard to take hold of something when my hands are full of something else. Our hands can be so full of the world that we no longer have room to grab hold of eternal things. Have we created lifestyles for ourselves that have crippled our ability to give? None of us will stand in the glorious presence of God on judgment day and say, “I wish I had given away less” or, “I wish I hadn’t been so generous.” No. I fear that many of us will be filled with regret on that day for giving away so little. When we finally see Jesus face to face, we will fully understand how fully satisfying He is.
But get this. He has given us a way to experience that satisfaction in this life. How?
By giving generously. Remember what Jesus told the rich young ruler? “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
David Platt reflects on that passage by saying, “Sure, Jesus beckoned the man to sell everything he has on earth, but in the next breath he promised the man everlasting treasure in eternity. It’s as if Jesus was saying to him, ‘Give what you have to the poor; I’ll give you something better.’ In the end Jesus wasn’t calling this man away from treasure; Jesus was calling him to treasure.”
Brothers and sisters, may we be a community marked by a deep satisfaction in Christ that results in tremendous generosity to the praise and glory of God. I see this in so many ways in our ECA world and I am so encouraged by it. Don’t stop! You are such a loving people. Let love and faith fuel your generosity! When God moves us to give, may we give generously and joyfully.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace!
ECA Fundraising Coordinator