You Have Something to Give

SJ generosity.jpg

Generosity is an attitude of the heart. Generosity has more to do with how we live our lives than with how much money we have in the bank. Generosity isn’t only for the rich to participate in or set aside for those who have more than enough; anyone can be generous. 

When we think of generosity, we often think about it in terms of money. We hear about Hollywood stars giving millions of dollars to relief efforts or to benefit other social justice projects and we think one of two things: Either we shrug our shoulders and say, “Well of course they can give away millions of dollars, they are rich, that’s pocket change in their economy” or “I wish I had more money so I could be generous, too!” 

Both statements reflect the wrong idea about generosity and what it means to be generous. A couple of months ago, my husband preached a message entitled, “Am I generous?” It was a powerful message, but what stayed with me for the weeks and even months to come was that very question, “Am I generous?” 

Questions are a great way to evaluate our lives. Rather than statements to echo, questions cause us to look inward and sift through what we’d like to be known for and reveal to us who we really are. 

This particular question caused me to look at all aspects of my life. I quickly realized this has little to do with how often I give to the homeless person standing on the side of the road and everything to do with living generously. Not just as a citizen, but as a wife, mom, business owner, and in all areas. 

Am I generous with my time, my attention, my gifts and my money? Do I live with my heart, mind, life and hands wide open, looking for ways to be generous? Or, am I closed off, holding on to everything for fear of coming up short? 

Am I waiting to get to a more comfortable place so that I can give and can be generous? Or, am I asking myself what can I do today to be generous? 

Being generous is something we can cultivate and grow in whether we are experiencing abundance or when we feel like we have nothing significant to give. We all desire to be generous, but the reason most of us don’t live generously is that we place a high value on the amount and undervalue the gesture of giving itself. 

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in Mark 12:41-44. This is the story about the widow with the two mites; some call this the story of the woman who gave her all. This story takes place during Paschal Week, a time when women from all over would bring their offering. Many who participated were rich and lived with more than enough. This woman did not have much, but that didn’t keep her from giving.

This unnamed woman did not get the attention of others for the two coins she dropped in the bucket, but she certainly got the attention of Jesus. Her two coins weren’t of great value, but her gesture of giving made her story worth telling for eternity. 

God knows the reality of our bank accounts. He understands we have bills to pay and lives to live. And, while I am not suggesting you empty your bank account and give all that you have away, I am encouraging you to look for ways to give, not just with your finances, but with your time and attention.

When we give, our lives become bigger! We realize everything we have is a gift from God who is generous toward us. Keeping the reality of the cross front and center in our hearts reminds us that God loved us so much that He did not withhold anything from us. But, instead, gave everything for us so that we could have a relationship with Him. Generosity is a reflection of that reality. 

Generosity sifts the greed out of our lives and makes us more like Christ. We start seeing life through the eyes of a God who is more than enough instead of from a place of lack. We realize more and more that although we might not have a house and a yacht, we have something to give. 

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10, New Living Translation)

Generosity is something you and I must cultivate whether we have a lot or a little. This scripture is a principle that highlights that if we are faithful with the little we have, we will be faithful when we have more. I have never given away a million dollars, but I can assure you no matter what my financial status will ever be, giving away a million dollars is a big deal. But, if you are faithful with the ten dollars He has given you, you will be faithful with more. 

So, today as you love your children, serve your church, or run your business, ask yourself, “Am I generous?” I know that when you ask this question and consider the Lord, He will show you moments during the day to display generosity. Whether you pay for someone’s coffee, go the extra mile at work or give the most sacrificial offering you ever have. 

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Sarah Johnson bio.png