The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
To be a Christian is to be generous. And to be generous is to be blessed by God.
Writing to the Corinthian church about the blessings and rewards of generosity, the apostle Paul noted, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:11).
Although Paul was referring to more than financial generosity, he certainly included it in his statement. Commenting on this verse Murray J. Harris observed, “As regularly as the resources of the cheerful giver are taxed by his generous giving, they are replenished by divine grace.” It’s another way of saying “You can’t out-give God.”
Christians should be the most generous of all people. Here are a few ways we can express generosity and point others to our generous God.
Tithing. God is honored when Christians give faithfully and generously to the work of the church. Our tithes help our churches spread the gospel and testify to God’s generosity before a watching world. Christians who tithe demonstrate their trust in God to provide for their needs and a faith that willingly gives “up front,” believing that 90 percent of their income with God’s blessing is greater than 100 percent without it.
Tipping. It may seem strange to regard it as a spiritual act, but another way Christians can be “generous on every occasion” is to be generous with their gratuities. Most servers in restaurants make modest hourly wages and depend on the tips they receive to supplement their income. Many are single parents doing their best to provide for their families. We may not like the system, but that’s how it works in our society—and it gives Christians the opportunity to bless and encourage others with a modest investment. Before I leave a restaurant, I often remind myself that a few extra dollars left as a tip will barely affect me, but may make a big difference to my server. If we’re given the opportunity to explain that our generous tipping stems from our faith, all the better.
Treating. This may not be practical for all Christians, but as we have opportunity, another way to point people to our generous God is by being generous toward those around us. Perhaps you could pick up the tab when having lunch with a friend, give a gift card to someone who is struggling financially, or loan money to someone in need without expecting repayment. You may not always have the opportunity to connect your generosity with your faith, but you might have an impact on those you help.
Taking. Richard Foster refers to this as “the service of being served.” As much as we may prefer to be on the giving end when it comes to generosity, we can also be generous by allowing others to give to us. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but to refuse someone’s gift is to rob that person of the blessings that come from being generous.
God continues to be generous to us on every occasion. Let’s follow his example in our generosity toward others.
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