Growing in generosity isn’t just about giving more; it’s about the condition of our hearts as we give. We may think that we are generous because we give to the poor, help the needy, or drop a donation in a bucket outside the grocery store. But generosity is about much more than just money. God expects us to be generous in every aspect of our lives, and this requires the development of our character.
God is Generous
Because God is generous, we should strive to be generous too – we should want to be like our Father. It’s all about thinking of others before we think of ourselves and intentionally caring about the needs of others.
Consider how generous God was when He gave His Son to redeem us from sin. God didn’t hold back – He gave what was most precious to Him in order to reconcile mankind to Himself. And He continues to generously pour out His love, mercy, grace, and strength of His children on a daily basis. We honor God when we live generously and when others characterize us as generous people.
God Blesses Generous People
There’s no question that God rewards generosity, and we can be sure that we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). We cannot expect to receive if we are unwilling to give. In fact, Jesus ordered the disciples in Matthew 10:8: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.”
As we sow generosity, we can expect to reap the same.
Proverbs 11:25 ~ “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”
Proverbs 22:9 ~ “He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.”
Deuteronomy 15:10 ~ “You shall generously give to him [God], and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.”
Greed: the Opposite of Generosity
1 Timothy 6:9-10 warns, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Timothy understood the dangers of loving money and being greedy. He had seen believers give into their human, fallen nature and then experience grief and destruction because of it. We are naturally selfish and greedy: just take a look at children and how they naturally don’t want to share. They have to be taught to share and give.
In the same way, we will encounter ruin if money has a hold on our hearts. We must constantly surrender our fleshly nature to God so He can develop generosity in us. Although we don’t want to focus on greed, the Bible is clear that we must guard against this tendency and invite God to develop His character in us. After all, the old has gone, the new has come. God is not working on our old man; He’s working on our new man!
Money Isn’t Evil
If money itself were evil, then why does the Bible call a man “good” who leaves his grandchildren an inheritance? (Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”) Money isn’t good or bad – it’s what we do with it and our relationship with it that counts.
As we can see, money itself is not the problem; it’s the love of money. We must stay “free from the love of money” (1 Timothy 3:3), and being generous is one way to not allow money to capture our hearts.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 talks about the folly of riches: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.” This scripture makes it clear that it’s the love of money that’s the issue because it’ll never be enough. Money will never satisfy us – only God can do that. But if we’re generous, we know how to live in a place of satisfaction.
Where is Your Treasure?
Our treasure is what we value – it’s what is most important to us. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus instructed people to be careful about what they value because that’s what seizes our hearts:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
So it’s not that we cannot be wealthy. Sons and daughters of God know how to give and be generous like their Father. It’s totally OK for us to be people who are smart with money and to grow and prosper and be people who have plenty because when we have more, we can give more. As long as money is not our treasure, then God can trust us with it because He knows that our character can handle it.