The Cost of Generosity

| MOSAIC August 2010

Giving is always a good thing.  We are created not to be reservoirs holding onto resources for ourselves, but to be conduits where the love of God flows through us to others.  Giving helps us to think, feel and love outside of ourselves.

Being generous is how we can participate with God in His ministry, and become more like him. Generosity is also how we demonstrate our confidence in God.  As we give first, we trust in Him to look after our needs.  And being generous is an act of worship of the God that loved us so much He gave His one and only Son for us. Generosity glorifies God.

There is no doubt generosity is a virtue we want to see not only in ourselves and our children but also in our churches.  Giving is meant to be a passionate and positive response to what God has done for, in and through us.

Yet, there are times we don’t look at giving this way. Instead, we can see it as a sacrifice, obligation, or simply “giving up” something we would much rather keep for ourselves.

God’s desire for us becoming generous is so much more than an obligation.  God calls us to give with a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). He encourages us to be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share so that we may take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Tim 6: 18-19).

When we give out of wrong motives, we miss out on the joy that comes with being generous.  And when we give in order to impress others, Jesus tells us that we give up what reward God would have for us in heaven (Matt. 6:1).   And when we do not give at all, we run the risk of becoming controlled by and even devoted to our money (Matt. 6:24).

But being generous does cost us.

It costs us our ownership.  The freedom to be generous comes from knowing that all we have and all we are belongs to God.  Knowing this allows us to release the tight hold on what we thing belongs to us.

It costs us our selfishness.  Giving helps transform our thinking selfishly to a mindset of outlandish generosity to God’s work in the world and to those less fortunate.

It costs us our priorities. God asks us to give first – from our ‘first-fruits’ and not out of our ‘leftovers’. He calls us to give before we do anything else. In doing so, it becomes both an act of worship and an act of faith.  As we give first, we express our love and worship of God and we also exercise trust in God that as we are giving to others He will meet all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

It costs us our control. Our giving is to be done with no thought of return – and with no strings attached.  In doing so, we acknowledge that our money was always God’s while we were still managing it, and that He will look after its use when we give it back to Him.

It costs us ourselves. We are to give more than our money.  Generosity involves giving our time and using how God has made us to help those around us.  It means being generous in our relationships – are we investing in the people around us? Are we giving in our hospitality by opening our homes and our hearts to those God has placed around us?

It costs us our hearts. God’s word tells us that where our money is, our hearts will be also (Matt 6:19-21). But we can direct our hearts by where we give. If we want our hearts to be in the things of God, then we give to God’s work and to those in need. Our hearts will start to follow our investment. And in doing so, we are investing in the stuff that truly matters.

So what does it cost us when we are not giving?  Not only do we miss out on the joy of being generous and participating in the work of God, but we do not become the person God intended us to be.

What does generosity cost us? Everything!

But it is so worth it.