There's something uniquely powerful about giving.
In fact, throughout Scripture, we're called give as often (and usually within the same breath) as we're called to love. But before your mind boxes the idea of generosity within the framework of faith, let's note that this concept plays out in the secular word, too.
Although we tend to associate power with socioeconomic status, job titles, and the accumulation of money, there are entire industries built on how we manage giving away our wealth, too. Think about endowments, various forms of saving accounts, wills, charitable foundations, or even simple “Go Fund Me” accounts.
It's not uncommon to see businesses or brands advertising that a portion of their proceeds benefit a particular organization or need. And it works. We often feel a deeper connection and make purchasing choices because of it.
As a believer, it stands to reason that this secular reflection of our faith based belief is proof that there's something universally relevant about generosity. It's not just something Christians do. It's something the secular world also values.
Why is that?
I'd say it's because our Creator made all of us.
And regardless of our faith, our humanity reflects His heart to some degree.
This is the beautiful truth of being created in His image – believer or not.
So, giving in any capacity is a basic level reflection of our Creator's heart.
It's generosity that makes the Gospel – our redemptive story – so hard to understand, let alone believe. It's what confused the pharisees, and continues to perplex modern day men and women.
God ransomed our souls from the curse of sin not by showing up as a mighty king, but instead as a tiny baby born in a manger. He did not appear as fire from the sky or upheave ruling nations with plagues as He did in Egypt. Instead of punishment, he offered forgiveness and love to anyone that asked.
It makes sense that people found it hard to believe that the long awaited Emanuel, “God With Us,” would appear on earth as an average man with no special riches or talents.
Of course we all know that Jesus was God's love come to earth. John 3:16 makes that very clear,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...”
But what we often overlook, is that Jesus was and is God's perfect generosity in the flesh.
We tend to lump generosity into the same category as sharing.
The concept of sharing is kind of like finding two apples in your lunchbox instead of one, so you share the extra apple with your friend.
Generosity is defined as giving more of something than is expected.
Let's say you notice your friend doesn't have an apple, but she also doesn't have much to eat at all.
So, not only do you give her your extra apple, but you split your sandwich with her, too.
By all standards, we would agree that's a kind and generous thing to do, right?
As Ephesians chapter two says, “But God...”
God's generosity is noticing that you don't have a lunch at all.
In fact, you're starving and you have no clue when your next meal is coming.
So, He gives you his apple, his sandwich, his chips, and his drink.
He gives you every single thing inside His own lunchbox and decides not to eat instead.
Christ coming to earth involved leaving Heaven.
God putting on human flesh involved suffering the world's imperfection.
Our salvation was an act of radical generosity.
God didn't just share with you or split half of his riches with you.
God gave you everything inside his lunchbox, so that he, in fact, might take on your hunger.
He made himself hungry, so that you could be full.
“You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT
We like to say that the Gospel is Jesus coming to die so that we can live. And that is certainly true. His death was the final sacrifice needed for our salvation. But his choosing life on earth was just as generous as his choosing death. He made himself poor, that we might become rich. And that act of generosity began in the manger.
God did not change our hearts with force or redeem us with vengeance.
His great love and generosity is far more powerful.
We like to think that we can make the most impact in the world around us by doing more and accumulating more things when in reality we deepen our impact when we give more things. When we're generous with our time, our resources, or our talents, that's a reflection of the heart of God.
He challenges us to love one another and to give generously because that's what He did for us. And that's what changed us. His kindness leads us to repentance.
There is great power in generosity.
It can change hearts, minds, and souls.