There are no rules to generosity. We can express financial giving by a value in pounds or dollars. We can define giving as a percentage of income. But we cannot measure a generous heart.
Eugene Cho wrote a book ‘Overrated, Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing to world‘. He makes this amazing statement:
“Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me. In other words, the point of my generosity isn’t just to bless others; it’s also to liberate me.”
Can our possessions own us?
It is so easy to let our possessions own us instead of the other way round. Jesus said that this is why it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:23-26)
Jesus used the hyperbole of a camel going through the eye of a needle. This is like him saying that we have to take the plank out of our eye to see the speck in eye of someone else. I was taught as a child that the ‘camels eye’ was a small gate in the city of Jerusalem, but there is no biblical or historical evidence of such a gate. Jesus used an exaggeration to say, quite simply, that naturally speaking it was impossible.
But Jesus goes on to say that with God, all things are possible, and this is where generosity come in.
Generosity – a gift from God
Whether we are rich or poor, we can be generous. Some of the most generous people I know, do not have many possessions. Generosity is harder for those who are rich – but not impossible.
- Generosity is not about earmarking a tenth of our income, to give back to God.
- Generosity is certainly not about giving token alms to the poor.
- Generosity is not about counting the cost of our giving.
- Generosity is not about giving grudgingly or out of duty.
- Generosity is a life-style of giving.
- Generosity is recognising that all we have is given to us by God anyway.
- Generosity means enjoying what we have, but not letting those things own us.
- Generosity means giving cheerfully and enjoying the benefit it gives to other people.
We cannot make rules about being generous. It cannot be measured. The moment we put a percentage to it, it stops being generosity and becomes law.
Generosity is a way of life, a chosen life-style. It means having an open heart, aware of the needs of those around us, while being aware of our own needs and the needs of our family.
Generosity – a win-win situation!
“In other words, the point of my generosity isn’t just to bless others; it’s also to liberate me.”
Being generous is liberating. It liberates us from our possessions that can otherwise own us. It allows us to enjoy the good things we have been given by God without those things becoming a liability, a cause of worry, and us ending up being owned by what we have.
But we cannot be generous without being blessed too. We can enjoy the pleasure that our generosity gives to another. It is truly win-win!