Generosity Opens the Door Wide

  • Jesus told Zacchaeus to climb down from the tree because they were going to Zacchaeus’ house. Zacchaeus “welcomed him gladly” (Luke 19:5-6).
  • Martha “opened her home” to Jesus when we walked into Bethany (Luke 10:38).
  • Levi, a former tax collector, “held a great banquet for Jesus at his house” (Luke 5:29).
  • A Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to have dinner with him in his home, and Jesus accepted his invitation despite knowing the critical nature of the man’s heart (Luke 7:36).
  • A former leper named Simon threw a dinner party in Jesus’ honor just days before His arrest and crucifixion (Mark 14:3, John 12:1-2).

Some of Jesus’ best, most
intimate teaching took place
over a meal in someone’s home.

Some of Jesus’ best, most intimate teaching took place over a meal in someone’s home. Women and men, Pharisees and tax collectors—all sorts of people—invited Jesus into their homes. Okay, sometimes He invited Himself. Still, in every recorded instance, He said “yes.” What if, here in the 21st century, ours was the home? What if Jesus used us to reach someone over a meal in our home? Continue reading

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Generosity is Openhanded

In the first half of this year, we considered generosity, my #OneWord2018, by its source and relationship to other biblical concepts. For the latter half of this year, we’ll look at various types of generosity and related Bible instructions.

These days, we call it charity—the concept of sharing money or goods with those who need it. (In King James English, charity was a synonym for love. Check 1 Corinthians 13. I was so confused when I was a kid.) When we think of generosity, most of us start here.

Openhanded Giving

Continue reading

Authentic Generosity Springs from Humility

We get so we can give.

Why does God give us things (tangible and intangible)? First, because it’s in His nature. God is generous. But second, we get so we can give.

From my car to my children to the love I show my neighbor, everything I have is, in a sense, on loan from God and on its way to someone or somewhere else. I am the conduit of His blessing for others. The things He gives me are mine for the time it takes them to pass through my hands, through my circle of influence. Like an earthen ditch flowing full of water, some of God’s blessing soaks into the earth over which they pass, and so I am blessed as all these things pass through me.

That last paragraph is where I want my mindset to remain. I’m not often there, which is why I write this month about the connection between humility and generosity. Continue reading

Generosity’s Connection to Joy

I like to give gifts at random times, for no apparent reason. I think it’s fun to surprise someone with something they’ve wanted or needed, and I enjoy doing it. But I don’t like being expected to give a gift.

Have you ever felt pressured to give a gift? I’m not talking about the compulsion of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about that time when social expectations or high-pressure tactics practically forced you to make a donation or give a gift. Call me coldhearted, but I strongly resist emotional pleas and guilt-ridden appeals.

If you’re bullied into giving, that’s not generosity. Continue reading

Contentment’s Crucial Place in Generosity

About twenty-five years after Jesus’ ascension, the small band of believers in Jerusalem faced big trouble. They were persecuted and oppressed in every way, and they were completely out of money. Things were desperate.

2 Corinthians 8:1-7.

When the apostle Paul heard about their situation, he responded out of the depth of his relationships. He called upon fledgling churches throughout the region to help their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. The Corinthian church—one that excelled in everything (2 Cor 8:7)—was among the first to raise their hands. Paul wasn’t surprised.

But something else did surprise him: Continue reading