- \ˈjen-rəs, ˈje-nə-\
- Middle French or Latin; Middle French genereus, from Latin generosus, from gener-, genus
I was reading in 2 Corinthians this morning about an instance of generosity, liberality of giving, where Paul is urging the Corinthians to give to another church in need. Missionaries use this passage all the time, often to manipulate people into giving them money. "God loves a cheerful giver" and " He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly" (the Old King James is great for making people feel small).
But you don't often hear the rest of the passage.
12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
How crazy is God? He gives us things so that we can give them away and then in the process God is praised and we are prayed for, all because of 'the surpassing grace God' has given us. It's nuts!
We make it all about money. And money is important, as anyone who doesn't have enough will surely tell you. We need it. But giving money is one little part of a gracious, generous life. I'm supposed to live graciously, with generosity in all things. Give love and help and wisdom and a listening ear and time and money in line with how God has given me His grace.
Oh, MAN am I tight fisted! As Brent says, "Sheesh!" I had a good eye-rolling session at myself this morning before I sat down and listed ways I can be more generous in, well, in everything. Here's a few I came up with:
- in grace: give more grace to people, even lavish them with it (especially our 3 year old)
- in time: stop being in such a hurry with people. give them time to be.
- in expectations: go easier on people, myself included, when we screw up or are mean.
- in relationships: real ones take time and energy and patience, give more of those things to people.
I mean, that's just FOUR! And it's not all about doing things - it's about being a possessor of surpassing grace. A grace which is designed to be given to others.
Can you come up with some from your life? I'd love to see what areas I'm totally passing over.