Friday, 8 April 2016

True Generosity Gives Not Out Abundance, or Sacrifice But True Agape Love and Whole-hearted Faith in the Suficiency of God's Providence

Everyone in the Church knows that true generosity is not out of giving out of one's wealth (Mark 12:44; Luke 21:4). Of course, many in the modern Church, would think, generosity is not giving out of one's wealth. For many of you would feel offended if someone gave you something out of their wealth, and thought themselves generous. Rather you would only be satisfied if someone gave to you sacrificially, of course, out of your selfishness and self-entitlement. 

However, neither does given sacrificially amount to generosity. What it means to give generously means to give out of agape love, which manifests in giving freely and willingly, without any conditions to giving. It is to give without demanding that certain obligations be meet to satisfy one's fleshy desires to give only when one can gain something in return. It is give to one in need, so that those who have much do not have too much and those who have less do not have too little. The spirit behind generosity is a spirit of gratefulness and contentment, trusting not only that God will provide, but that God's provision alone is sufficient and that one need not seek one's own needs.

The early Church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 9 set an example of giving in this manner of spirit:

Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting.[a] Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation.

The Cheerful Giver

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”[b]

10 Now may[c] He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

May their true generosity, giving to those in need, out of true zealous love for God and the members of body of Christ be followed by us, not out of an obligation or duty to be righteous, but an outflowing of love, gratefulness and faith in God's sufficient provison be an example to us all. Amen.