A Generous Heart


In going over the 2024 GCC budget final prep this past year with Lee and in discusssing particularly the funds that need to come in to cover the foreseen 'spending' planned therein, the typically generous spirit I have welled up even more. I think my spirit is typically generous in nature. I know that whatever measure of generosity I do have, for sure comes from a recognition of how much has been given to me and from how absolutely undeserving I am of the numerous blessings afforded me. I also know that I have felt more joy when I think I have been generous, but something in additon to joy is there also. It 'feels good', very good, to let blessings flow though a loose and relaxed hand, in very much the same way when playing an instrument is simply natural and effortless when music flows almost directly from the heart and mind. Or like those moments when running feels great - where the exertion is easy and the feet glide over the pavement. It's here where the heart beats a little harder and faster, but feels great; where the breathing is deeper and more frequent, but you feel air completely fill your lungs and then fluidly release the entire exchanged volume. Everything in those fleeting moments is perfectly balanced. The inflows reach every region intended, giving what is needed internally, and then the outflow occurs completely with no build up left behind.

I think I can say that I love to be generous in my giving. It's imperfectly generous and not always passionately done, and there are periods where my hand closes a bit and becomes a little rigid. All in all, however, I really love to be generous, especially 'behind the scenes' where maybe only God knows. Before I let things get away from me in my ego-fest, I should and do acknowledge that I really miss the mark with respect to my personal discipline and stewardship with my resources...I tend to be wasteful on myself and to give in to desires for unnecessary and unhealthy stuff, esp. with food. I don't see my resources yet in such a manner as to say....if I didn't spend X, then I could either give or save it, at least not in an ongoing discplined way.

Weakness acknowledged, why do I get excited to give? Maybe the questions are why give and what is truly generous?

Punchline first. God gives. God, the Father, gives Jesus to the world. God, the Son, gives His life as a ransom for all who believe in Him. God, the Spirit, gives light to the mind. God does this fully and completely.

Why else? Jesus clearly teaches that He expects us to be generous. He knows that He deserves worship. He knows that it is good for others. He knows it is good for us. Since He created us, He knows that generosity* makes us function as intended - that it's kind of like an oil that lubricates all the functioning parts causing them to operate smoothly and protecting them from wear.

*I'm using the word generous to indicate a free flow of resources through a life. Blessings come in and blessings flow out.

Why else? A proper motivation for being generous is simply to reflect Jesus and show forth the Gospel. Jesus gave all. As I give, it preaches a little sermon to myself. And even when giving 'in secret' with no one else knowing, it preaches that little sermon to the receiver and to the observer. Someone gave when they didn't have to and it reminds them of how Jesus desired to give and didn't withhold even in the face of extreme suffering. And why did He do so? Out of love for the recipients of His gift. Now, the Gospel does need preached in words for full effect, but God uses all kinds of displays in drawing us to Himself alongside those wonderful words of life. A generous heart is a display that depicts and points to Jesus.

I think the excitement that wells up comes from searching out the answer to this question: What if the answer to 'why give' is even grander than I had realized? Most parents I know desire to give their children a 'better life than they knew'. Maybe that's going away at the moment exactly in that way in our culture, but the sentiment remains. Parents desire to give good gifts to their children and to see them enjoy their existence - to be happy and healthy. It is extremely natural for parents to work to provide an environment and resources to those ends. We all hope to see our kids running and laughing and having a good time in the yard we bought, seeded, and mowed. It confirms that we love them.

Revelation 21:1-27 - All of it!

Revelation 21:3-4 - I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."

Revelation 22:5b - And they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:14 - Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.

Revelation 22:17 - The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let anyone who hears this say, "Come." Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

John 17:24 - Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

Let me attempt to connect some dots from here back to you giving generously in the kingdom with this kind of future in mind.

This a very grand thing indeed. That his people will be with him in such GLORY. That HIS PEOPLE will be with him. That HE will exhibit HIS LOVE so tenderly and personally through being CLOSE ENOUGH to wipe every tear. Sometimes encouragements for us to give generously focus, correctly, on 10% as a 'standard' and on the fact that we are commanded to 'bring the tithe'. We hear about how obedience is a good thing for us - which it very much is. We hear about how giving is an act of worship - and it very much is. We hear about how Jesus gave all and how our spirits, when right, naturally respond to that fact in kind by giving generously. I wonder, do we often think about what we are ultimately facilitating when we give? Fallen and broken world that it is, I know that money and resources can be given over to people who are corrupt and have taken those gifts under the pretense of using them for 'something good' and then don't. Take that out of the picture for a moment. Ultimately, money and other resources given in the kingdom enables and fuels the Word of God being preached to the lost. Even in our context and culture where a fairly good portion of our gifts sustain churches that primarily focus on preaching to believers for our maturing and sanctification in Christ....the ULTIMATE ULTIMATE goal of doing this is to produce fruit in believers that yield seeds that are planted in non-believers lives. More directly put, the process of sanctification causes believers to speak the Word of God. The Word of God spoken produces another believer, another individual member of God's people, that He is bringing to himself to eat from the tree of life and drink from the water of life, those who are entering in to eternal life to reign with Him.

Don't be slow on the uptake. Jesus gave all. Through that, he enabled the apostles to believe, who then taught and GAVE to the ministry of the Word being preached, enabling more to become disciples who preached and GAVE. Obedience is good. Worship is good. Giving in response to Jesus' gift to you is good. The many peronal benefits that giving brings are good. Don't forget that our gifts, in addition to all of these good things, actually fuel the Gospel which brings more into the flock.

It's hard for me to put into words how I now see just how closely connected that generous giving in the here and now is to the celebration and worship of Jesus as part of His people in eternity. I imagine seeing Jesus and being overcome with a worshipful spirit thanking Him for making me His. I see Him smile at me and then nod for me to look around. I see the vast ocean of people, my family. I am part of them. They are part of me. Jesus is our all. He thanks me for my gift, which brings a humility of spirit at a depth I've never felt, because I know just how little, how absolutely tiny, it is. But because He touched it and used it, it has been made glorious and wonderful. I worship Him, who has constrained Himself to work through us, his people, and turned our water into wine, fed the 5000 with our meager offerings, and sustained the ministry of the Word of God through the ages to this very point - eternity his kingdom. His children are with Him, and He is pouring out all of His goodness and riches on them.


Thanks Scott! As I look back on Diane and my journey as followers of Christ, I must confess many failures. However, from the moment we both got saved back in 1979, He has enabled us to give generously even when common sense shouted “we can’t afford this.”

What we have learned over the years is that we actually can’t afford to not do this. As you so eloquently put it He has given His all for us. How can we not give significantly for and to Him.

Again, thanks for the good Word.
Love as we mature we can reflect on others more than ourselves. Yes we slip up from time to time. I always feel good when I can extend kindness to a hurting heart or a financial need. God is so generous to us how can we not be generous to others.

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