A Life of Generosity

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.

—Proverbs 11:24 

During the holidays advertisements and special sermons remind us to be generous. So we throw a few coins into a red kettle. We toss a crumpled dollar to the rain-soaked man holding a soggy cardboard sign at the intersection. We buy a coat for a child hurrying past our house on his way to the apartments we avoid. We write a small check to the charitable organization offering the biggest tax break. By the time we sit down for Christmas dinner, our guilt has been assuaged. We tuck our full wallets away until next year and call ourselves generous.

But according to Scripture, true generosity works like this: The more we give, the richer we become. The tighter we hold, the less we have to hold. What does that mean for the holiday giver?

When we fail to give, we’re the ones being cheated. Out of what?

The joy of alleviating another’s suffering. The hope of seeing a marriage restored because we supported a ministry. The thrill of knowing school children will have the supplies they need. The pride in knowing a wasted life was turned around because we gave our time and money to a homeless shelter. The peace of knowing our financial gifts have made our neighborhoods safer.

Giving blesses us even more than it blesses those who receive whatever we have to offer.

Scholars may try to make sense of the irony of that statement, and it can only be explained like this: When we finally see the broken world as Christ sees it, the compassion we feel means that our hearts have been eternally changed. Racking up rewards in heaven is worth more than any reward money can buy on earth.

Today’s One Thing

Commit to a year of generous giving. Make a list of places, organizations or individuals who could benefit from your help. Pray about how God would have you give of your time, money and talents. Make a plan to give each month. Then be prepared to gratefully record the blessings you receive from your investment.




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