WHAT IS IT?
• John.12:3 “Mary took a pound of very costly oil of Spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil”.
· Generosity is unlimited – you choose how generous you are.
· Generosity that is extravagant is like a sweet fragrance – very noticeable.
· Generosity flows out of a heart of gratitude – Mary was grateful Lazarus is alive.
· Generosity exposes greed. Judas: “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor”.
· Generosity is rewarded in unexpected ways (Matthew.26:13 – I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”).
Generosity is a lifestyle. The concept of living by ‘Tzedakah’ ( צדקה ) continues to this day in Judaism, it is a lifestyle and a way of living that would have been familiar to the culture at Jesus’ time. The Hebrew word ‘Tzedakah’ is translated in the bible as ‘Generosity’. It is derived from the word ‘Tzedek’ ( צדק ) which is translated as ‘Righteousness’, ‘Tzedakah’ literally means ‘Righteousness Revealed’.
Tzedakah is the responsibility to give aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy, or to worthwhile causes particularly those with no means of repaying. Tzedakah means being good stewards of and planning to give a portion of one’s personal substance for the common good. Although it is related to charity, the translation of Tzedakah is broader than the definition of charity. Charity suggests benevolence and generosity, an act of the powerful and wealthy for the benefit of the poor and needy. Tzedakah is derived from the Hebrew language and means righteousness, fairness or justice. In Judaism, giving to the poor is not viewed as a generous act; it is simply an act of justice, the performance of a duty, giving the poor their due. It is the right thing to do.
Generosity operates from a place of God’s provision and faithfulness rather than a sense of lack or poverty. Cheerful giving is spontaneous and non-reluctant and is performed by someone who is won over and satisfied. Generosity, especially to the poor is the Practical Expression of being Right with God. It isn’t just about money; Jesus speaks about being generous with mercy, grace and forgiveness as well as with our resources.
• Matthew 5:6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
• 1 John 3:17 “Whoever has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
WHAT PRAISE IS NOT! THE OPPOSITE OF GENEROSITY
• Mean – a shut hand.
• Lack – a Poverty mind-set.
• Hard Hearted
THE COUNTERFEIT OF GENEROSITY
• Giving gifts with strings attached is not honour. It’s manipulation.
• Selfish agenda, giving just to receive a blessing. God’s desire is for us to love being a giver, being generous without an agenda. There is no evidence of grace (true generosity) when we give with an agenda.
• Giving to receive attention or to be a hero.
• Reluctant giving or giving under compulsion. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
“All [God’s] gifts point us back to him. Or at least that’s how it should work. The gift should cause us to love and worship the giver more deeply. But all too easily God’s gifts to us end up being His greatest competition.
Imagine for a moment that you’re a parent out shopping for a present to give your child. You’ve heard him talking, in tones of awe, about the latest gaming console. You see it at the store, and the thought of the smile on his face puts a smile on yours. It’s not inexpensive; in fact it’s somewhat of a sacrifice. But you want the best for your child.
When you get home and present the gift, your child offers a shout, a tight hug, and a dozen frenzied thank-yous. It was worth every penny for this moment. You stop by his room a couple of times and watch him setting it up and playing it with utter concentration. You ask him a question about the game, and he says, “Wait–can’t talk,” and then seems to forget you’re there.
Later you ask him to go out to dinner with the family, and but he begs off, wanting only to stay and play with his new game. Later on he starts to tell you about the add-ons and games his friends have, arguing that their version is much better than his. Not only do you not see him as much as before, but he seems less content and happy than before you bought this console. How could such a nice gift go so wrong?
It happened because the gift became more important than the giver. The beauty was not meant to be so much in the thing itself, but the love that brought it about.” Karl Idleman
Generous Person’s Prayer – Shane Willard
Give me seed for sowing; Give me the discernment to know what is seed and what is fruit.
Give me the courage to sow my seed and the grace to eat my fruit without feeling guilty.