Fruit of the Spirit 5: Generosity

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20.35b)

"Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need." (Proverbs 21.13)

"So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and
give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate
time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone,
especially to our Christian brothers and sisters." (Galatians 6.4-10)

Generous people make the world a better place!
Generosity is a fruit, and it’s connected to gratitude. In fact, John
Wesley believed that there were two words that sum up the Christian
life: gratitude and benevolence (or generosity). Gratitude leads to
generosity! Generous Christ-followers are eternally grateful for what
God has done! Generous people, it seems to me, are also genuinely happy people.

“The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve” (Albert Schweitzer)

And because they are generous, people’s needs are met, one at a time —
the hurting are cared for, relationships are built, and ministry

Generosity costs!
Generosity isn’t easy and it isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard
work, and it will cost you — time, energy, and money. It’s
especially hard when you feel like you don’t have much, if anything, to

“If you give something that you can live without, it’s not giving.” (Mother Teresa)

Generous people are people who are willing to sacrifice themselves to help others.

“We have not even begun to be Christian if we think of giving to Christ
and to his church in terms of as little as we respectably can.”
(William Barclay)

Generous people see themselves as stewards or trustees. They know that
everything they own belongs to God and that God has entrusted them with
resources — time, talents, treasures — to use for the benefit of others.

”Bounce your last check!”

That’s the title of a chapter in Leonard Sweet’s SoulSalsa. In other words, don’t hold anything back. Give it all!

“The man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” (Andrew Carnegie)

“A man is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (Jim Elliott)

Matthew 6.19-21

A “missional focus”
We’re in the process of developing a missional focus. At the heart of
any effective missional focus is a servant’s heart/attitude! We will be
searching for more effective (missional) ways to serve! Churches that
serve, thrive!

“If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.” (C. T. Studd)

Rebekah’s Story
There’s an incredible story about generosity in Genesis. It’s the story
of how a wife was found for Isaac. It begins when Abraham sends Eliezer
to his homeland to find a wife for Isaac. Eliezer leads a group of men
along with 10 camels. Along the way, Eliezer asks for God’s help in
finding the right woman. When Eliezer arrives at the well, he sees a
young, unmarried woman approaching, and he asks for some water. She
lowers her jar and provides water for him.

That would have been enough, but Rebekah goes beyond the call of duty
and brings water for his camels. One account I read stated that camels
are able to travel great distances without water, because of the
construction of their stomachs. They’re able to store excess water
which is gradually released into the camel’s system as needed. A
camel’s water capacity ranges from 8 to 15 gallons, so Rebekah was prepared to
draw at least 80 gallons of water for Eliezer’s ten thirsty camels.
This would mean quite a number of trips up and down steps to a well.

The Genesis account indicates that she had to go down to the spring to
fill her jar, language which may mean that she descended steps into a
large hole to reach the water of the spring and then had to carry that
water up out of the hole (Genesis 24.16). All in all, Rebekah here was asking
for a lot of work. And notice how she did it according to Genesis
24.20: "She quickly emptied her jar into the trough, and ran back to
the well to draw …"

Amazing! Rebekah didn’t simply do the minimum; she went way beyond the
call of duty. She did what was asked of her, and then some!

“Everybody can be great … because everybody can serve. You don’t have
to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject
and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul
generated by love.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Reflective Questions
1. Am I generous with my time, energy, talents, and money?
2. What are some ways I can be more generous in these areas?
3. In what way is God leading me to be generous to someone this week?

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