“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” – Malachi 3:10
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:31, 32
“The point is this; whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one should give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, ‘He has distributed freely, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
From cover to cover, the Bible reveals that our God is extremely generous! He is more than just a giver. One can give and not be generous. Generosity is a state of mind. It is not just an act, it is an attitude. It flows out of who you are not what you own. We all know the saying, “It’s the thought that counts”. The truth is that you can give without being generous. People do it all the time. Some give out of obligation or begrudgingly. Some give so they can feel better about themselves. Others may give with the expectation of a returned gift or favor. Oh yes, you can give without being generous. But this is not how God gives! God gives because He IS generous! He lavishly provides for His people everything that they need and MORE! Parable after parable, story after story, God pours out His blessings on creation.
In this second letter to the Corinthian church Paul reminds them that God’s generosity should inspire and empower them to be more of a generous people. Are you grateful for the blessings that God has brought into your life? Have you thanked Him recently for taking care of you? How long has it been since you have made a list of what you are thankful for? When we take the time to do this we will find that generosity is a natural outcome. When we experience the overwhelming generosity of God in our lives it should free us to live the same way. In response to God’s blessings in our life we should be motivated to bless others. In fact, we are blessed to be a blessing. Paul says to the Corinthians that God blesses us abundantly so that we are able to bless others. We should “sow” kindness and love bountifully!
A true “attitude of gratitude” changes us from the inside out. We become more than just benevolent givers, we become generous! The value of generosity is not measured by the size of the gift but by the character of the giver. That is what makes God’s gifts so wonderful. He gives because He wants to give to us! He gives because He loves us! That makes every gift from God a beautiful thing. This is the generosity that Paul is encouraging the early church of Corinth to reproduce. It is this divinely inspired generosity that will point people to God and, according to Paul, “produce thanksgiving to God”.
How can you be a more generous disciple? It starts with recognizing what God has done for you. Take time to make that list of blessings. The Easter season of lent reminds us of the clearest example of God’s overwhelming generosity! It is the celebration of God’s greatest act of generosity to provide for our salvation. Paul said it best at the end of the chapter quoted above,
“Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)