The one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, ingenerosity; the one who lead, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
– Romans 12:8
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully4will also reap bountifully. Each one must giveas he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency5in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
– 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Generosity is both a responsibility and a privilege; it is both a spiritual gift and a normal expression of the believer’s walk with God. Giving or being generous is one of the most profound marks of God’s grace in our lives. Paul made this clear in writing to the Corinthians:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich – 2 Corinthians 8:9
Our motivation for being generous needs to flow from understanding the richness of God’s grace towards us in Christ. One could make the argument that a believer who is stingy only becomes that way when they have stifled their relationship with Christ. It is virtually impossible to clearly see the grace of Christ towards us in His incarnation, suffering and death and not be deeply moved (or shaken) by the profound generosity of our God. It is hard to imagine who would grasp this more. A person with the gift of being generous would clearly seem to outdo most others simply because we recognize that people with a special gift for anything exercises it in a profoundly unique manner that is usually an example for others to follow. But those who truly value the overwhelming grace of Christ’s love for us on the cross has more intrinsic motivation than giftedness. They could easily be abundantly giving to those around them.
In a world that is all about seeing how much people can get out of this world we might be hesitant to give to people who may truly exploit and selfishly manipulate others to take advantage of that generosity. We feel compelled to monitor our generosity so that we can control the abuse of others. However, while God warns us about those who are evil, it is also important that we don’t try and take on God’s role to give only when we can control the “responsible use of our generosity”. God will deal with people who exploit others, ultimately it will not go unnoticed. But our generosity ought to be motivated by Christ and His grace not the problems we see in others.
All that being said, let me also thank the Oak Grove family on behalf of my wife and I for their profound generosity in recognizing our 10 years here at Oak Grove. Your cards and gifts have been a profound encouragement to us and stirs within us a profound attitude of thankfulness and gratitude towards God for you all. Your encouragement is wonderful and we are excited about a faith community that fervently loves one another and is generous to those around them.
There is much to look forward to as we continue to press forward as a church. The Lord continues to be very generous to us by continually sending new families, couples and individuals to us that desire a church family that will care about them and that they can encourage others. May we catch a fresh vision of being generous to those around us and invest in the things that will truly last… primarily relationships.
Sincerely in Christ,