It is an action, but we would argue that an act of generosity comes from having one’s heart in the right place. Only when our hearts are softened with compassion and empathy can we truly be generous.
When we look back at the origins of the word generosity, we see it comes from a Latin word that means “of noble birth.” As the word’s usage began to change, generosity started being used to mean “of noble spirit.” And since one can have the attributes of a noble spirit and not be of noble birth, the meaning continued to be shaped toward how we most use it today: open-handedness and giving liberally of money, resources, and possessions.
How we understand the role of generosity in the lives of believers and their surrounding Christian communities may say more about our understanding of the gospel than any other single facet of our faith.
At its core, generosity is a lifestyle in which we share all that we have, are, or will ever become, as a demonstration of God’s love and a response to God’s grace in our lives. A church cannot merely talk about generosity, nor can individual Christians simply commit to "being generous." Generosity flows from an understanding that all we have, are, or will ever become is not ours to possess but is ultimately owned by God. Generosity results in practically sharing with others what God has given us for the advancement of the kingdom and the glory of God.
This Biblical Understanding of Stewardship Means That,
1) God is the owner of everything; 2) what we have has been given to us by God and; 3) that the resources we possess are assets to be invested back into God’s Kingdom.
The Right Heart Compels Us To Be Generous
Upon the realization and acceptance of our stewardship role in the kingdom of God, our hearts must also embrace the concerns of our Savior. Generosity is not simply an action without meaning; rather, it is a reflection of our hearts’ priorities. When our hearts align with the mission of God, coupled with the understanding that God owns everything, generosity is unleashed on a greater level in our lives. We begin to see needs we formerly may have glossed over, or see lack where before we saw disorganization. Open hearts to God’s leading compels us: Be generous!
To Be Generous Is To Be A Steward
To be generous, we must understand what it means to be a steward, embracing that what we have is not ours to own. It also means we confess that Jesus is Lord: over our money, possessions, positions of authority, and talents.
The free gift of God’s grace shapes our faith and leads to the conviction that all we have—in the way of time, talent, treasure, and testimony—are things that we have been given for a purpose. We cannot separate our acceptance of God's grace from the practice of generosity.
Stewardship is an opportunity to respond to the reckless nature of God who gives the free gift of salvation by grace to all who will receive it. Generosity is the fullest expression of the life of a steward, one who has been given a gift, a gift that must be used wisely and for a purpose: bringing glory to God.
If you would like to learn more about redefining generosity and developing a generosity culturein your church, we would love for you to schedule a meeting with one of our Generosity Strategists.
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Our team of Generosity Strategist have helped hundreds of churches move the needle on Generosity for over three decades.