Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Generous {the giving and the receiving}

It is has been on my mind so much lately.  What does a heart of generosity look like?  I peruse definitions in the Greek and Hebrew and find that it basically all says the same thing...being generous means this:

to bring in abundance
ready to distribute

God tells us that He will enrich us in every way so that we can be generous in every way. (2 Cor. 9:11)  I think being generous goes so much farther than just financial resources.  It can encompass our time, our prayers, our willingness to enter someone's grief, and even our words (one Greek definition of generous was eulogia, which is to speak a blessing over someone.)  Being generous can simply mean sharing with others what God has revealed...passing around the loaf of living bread as everyone is invited to take off a big chunk.

I think the phrase ready to distribute resonates the clearest for me.  It means that once any money hits my hands, I must willingly give it back to God, declaring that even though I worked for it, it has never been mine but always God's.  Isn't it Him that grants us the varying talents and ability to do good things?

If I am always in a mental state of being ready to distribute, then I think I will see opportunities more clearly.  Vision will be granted as I seek His everlasting Kingdom and not my own temporary earthly shack that I sometimes want double dipped in gold.

Vapors.  We are only a mist...what if we lived like it?  Would we hold all things with outstretched hands to the nail pierced hands?

God says He loves a cheerful giver.  I sometimes wonder if He was full of cheer the moment His Son, who had never left His side in all of eternity, stepped into the hidden recesses of a mere woman's womb.  I wonder if He missed him and was upset that this was the way grace had to be played out.  I would like to think that in that moment-the moment of no return-that God was cheerful in His lavish generosity towards mankind.

So I wonder how one gains a heart that is bent toward being generous toward all men, like our Example.  Perhaps Grace is the only way.  If we are truly overflowing with gratitude for what our Savior did, then perhaps that gratitude spills over into the form of generosity towards others.  We simply must bless others; hiding all the goodness would be the death of us.

Grace allows our cups of abundance to slosh out and soak everyone else around.

I am reminded of King David, who desired to bless the building of the temple.  His offering was one of freewill, flowing out of a grateful heart to the True King.  "...I have a treasure of my own gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God." (1 Chron. 29:3)  He gave out of grace.  God had been so merciful to him and he simply had to act or he might writhe under the weight of the glory.

So, what do we give to?  Besides a tithe to the local church, I think the opportunities are endless.  A fire has been ignited in you by the Holy Spirit that consumes you with passion...give to that!  2 Cor. 9:7 tells us to have a purposed and deliberate plan for our giving instead of being consumed by emotional appeals.

Am I at all times ready to distribute?  When the phone rings, and I am harried, am I ready to distribute my time and energy?  When the bank account is low, am I ready to distribute our last funds?  When I would rather speak ill of someone, am I ready to distribute kind words?

On the flip side of giving is the art of receiving.  I think it takes as much grace to receive as it does to give.  Perhaps pride deflects us from receiving...receiving a Word from God via a friend, receiving money from someone that wants to bless, receiving prayers from someone (which means opening our heart enough to let them in.)

Am I stealing someone else's joy of generosity if I choose not to receive?

I long for grace to freely distribute and grace to freely receive.

I wonder what a life of generosity would truly look like.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

It was good to hear both sides of being generous...giving and receiving. Thanks for being generous with what He is showing you!