Today we have the opportunity to be generous! Yes, we are taking an offering to help some of the most desperate people on our planet at the moment, in Syria, but I’m not just talking about financial generosity.
I’m also talking about generosity of spirit: the way we interact with those around us; how we love those who we wouldn’t necessarily gravitate towards; the words we use to encourage, bless and build; and the actions we use to support and lift those who need us to be Jesus to them in a given situation. Quite often, it’s not that we don’t want to be generous with who we are and what we have, but we don’t always think. Maybe it’s because we leave it to others or we just have too many concerns of our own, or maybe we are fearful of being left vulnerable.
Wikipedia describes generosity as ‘the virtue of not being tied down by concerns about one’s possessions’. Interestingly, when a rich young ruler asked Jesus what he should do to have eternal life, the Lord said, ‘Go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven … when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.’ (See Matthew 19:16-22.) With Jesus, the ownership of money was not the issue: I believe he knew that this young man had a compulsion for material things. Wealth can do so much good when accompanied with a healthy attitude! Paul makes it clear that it is ‘the love of money’ which is ‘the root of all kinds of evil’ (1 Tim 6:10). In short, if money becomes treasure, then, ‘Houston, we have a problem!’
I will leave the final word to the author of Proverbs, who simply and profoundly says: ‘A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.’ (Proverbs 11:25)