This past weekend, my hubby challenged our church to become more generous people. More generous to God and His mission. More generous to the people around us. Sometimes being generous is easier than others. For instance, being generous at Christmas is easy because everyone is in the giving spirit. We buy gifts for friends and family and even for the neighbors we rarely see. The spirit of Christmas is contagious, it seems, and in December we really enjoy blessing others.
But, right now it’s July, and it’s a bit harder to get excited about giving to others. I’m more concerned with giving a vacation to myself. I’m not necessarily thinking of how I can bless others. I’m thinking more about the fastest route to the pool. So, the message about generosity reminded me that it isn’t a seasonal virtue. This morning, I did a little Bible research on the topic and discovered what God says and promises regarding my willingness to tithe to the church and bless others. Check out a few of the verses I read:
Giving to others:
Isaiah 32:8 “But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.”
Proverbs 22:9 “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”
Deuteronomy 15:8 “Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.”
Deuteronomy 15:10: “Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”
Giving to God:
Exodus 35:5 “Take a sacred offering for the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 14:22 “You must set aside a tithe of your crops – one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year.”
Luke 6:28 “Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into you lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Matthew 6:1-4 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
Leviticus 27:30 “One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy.”
God’s generosity to us:
Titus 3:6 “He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 “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 9:8 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
1 Timothy 1:14 “Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.”
It’s quite apparent that generosity is a foundational element of the Christian faith. Bringing the tithe to church is a command. Meeting the needs of others is a command. Being rich in good deeds is a command. These things are expected of those of us who bear the name of Christ.
If you are a Christian, let me ask this: how are you doing in the area of generosity? Are you obeying God’s commands? If you are struggling a bit in this area, begin taking steps today to change! Don’t procrastinate! Let’s honor God with the resources He has graciously allowed us to have.