What was the last generous thing you did for someone else? You know what I’m talking about, the kind of thing that cost you something and doesn’t seem to directly add value to you, but that greatly benefits someone else. What was it?
- Did you leave a tip for a waiter that was greater than 18%?
- Did you give $10 for a water straw?
- Did you clean out your kids closet and donate the toys to charity?
- Did you volunteer your time to help someone in need?
- Did you stop to listen to the story of an anonymous stranger simply because, in that moment, they needed a sympathetic ear?
Generosity – giving out of the abundance of what God has given you.
It’s Christmas and as they say, “‘Tis the season!” Here’s the beautiful thing about generosity. True generosity benefits the one who receives and the one who gives. No earth shattering revelation here.
- The one who receives gets the value of the gift given.
- The one who gives gets the satisfaction of serving someone else.
Generosity is a good thing.
God loves generous people. Proverbs says that some people never give anything and end up loosing it all while others spread what they have all around and keep getting more. It’s the difference between the generous person and the miser. God loves a cheerful giver.
But, in God’s economy, there are two standards of giving that are better than generosity.
Obedience is simply doing what God asks you to do because God asked you to do it. Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love even more. It’s giving more than you think you can afford and trusting God to provide.
Out of obedience we give our FIRST and our BEST to God. It’s another Proverb. Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Out of simple obedience to God I will give Him the FIRST of all I have. This is about money. But it’s also about time & talent. It’s about attitude. It’s about taking the first and best of who you are and giving it God.
Out of simple obedience to God I will give Him the BEST of all I have. Simple obedience doesn’t ask for just anything. God asks for your best. He’s not interested in your left overs. He’s not impressed with your abundance. All that you have He gave to you in the first place. He deserves your best. He wants your best.
Now here’s a common misconception. God doesn’t ask for your first or your best because He needs the money. He asks for your first and your best because you need to learn to give. Let’s be honest. We’re not exactly ‘givers’ by nature. It may be more blessed to give than receive, but I spend way more time fretting over my Christmas list than everyone else’s. Genuine giving – the kind that is without grudge or remorse, the kind that comes with no expectation of getting something in return, the kind of giving that comes with no strings attached – that kind of giving has to be learned. How often has your generosity really cost you something? How often have you given with no strings attached?
God’s generosity toward you cost Him something. As a matter of fact God pushed beyond generosity to sacrifice. He gave His first and His best. He gave His only begotten son. Jesus became the sacrifice. He took the penalty for your sins and mine. God gave…Jesus was obedient, God was generous and the sacrifice was made. It’s the kind of gift that can never be repaid, but because of the gift I can choose to live my life a certain way. I can choose to live in a way that honors the gift I’ve been given.
So this Christmas season – in the midst of all the giving and receiving – don’t settle for simply being kind or generous. Push past generosity and give like Jesus gave. Give your FIRST and your BEST. Give out of the abundance of what God has given you, but don’t stop there. Give out of simple obedience. Give sacrificially – give more than you think you can afford and trust God to provide. Give up something you love for something you love even more.
This Christmas don’t stop with generous. Give your first and your best. Give out of simple obedience. Give sacrificially and discover God’s first and best for you.
The people of First Baptist Owasso are generous. Their mission and ministry meets needs in our community and around the world. They share the gospel and serve faithfully because they want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this generation. You can partner with us through giving. Click here to discover more.