Generosity might seem like an intimidating word to some, but it shouldn’t be because here’s the thing, You and I WANT to be generous people. Not a single one of us doesn’t at least aspire to it.
In the Not Enough? sermon, we looked at some of the things that keep us from being generous. Today, we will tackle another question… what does generosity look like? How do I know if I’m actually living generously?
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.
So, what does generosity look like?
1. Not just felt, it’s expressed. (Verse 6)
2. A decision more than a reaction. (Verse 7)
- There are moments when we have to make a snap decision to be generous.
- Our ability to act in those moments comes from a decision we’ve already made about how we are going to live.
- We make that decision and then live it out (manage it). In this manner, it’s a practice or a lifestyle we commit to, not something we wait until we feel.
3. A step of faith (Verse 8-10)
- We rarely feel like we have all we need, so this is a step in the opposite direction of what we feel.
- Two words here: seed vs. bread – God gives them both, and they have different purposes.
- It’s easy for us to look at everything as bread. Whenever we do this, we become consumers. Going back to the scarcity mindset – if we have this, financially, emotionally, with our talents and time, we’ll center our perceived needs in every moment, and everything will be bread.
- Some of it IS bread, but some of it is for a different purpose. What? (Verse 11) to plant something that bears fruit and produces a harvest. And planting the seed takes faith, along with an understanding of how the seed works.
4. Sacrificial (Verse 11)
- It costs us. It hurts a little bit. There’s something else we could have done instead of giving up. We think of our time and resources, and we consider them seriously.
- “Sacrificial” looks different at different times in our life. Think of what the benchmark is if we feel the cost. Think of what the threshold is and how that changes in different seasons of life and circumstances.
When we embrace this way of living, there are some results that come. (What’s in it for me?)
You Will Be Blessed
We need to be careful with this because you’ve heard late-night televangelists tell you that you’ll get more money and stuff if you give.
God might bless you tangibly or financially. You SHOULD believe there’s a principle of being a trustworthy steward – we see this in the Bible. But we shouldn’t be generous so that we can get more.
And here’s the thing…
God promises to always give you what you need (not what you want, what you NEED).
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.
But you’re also blessed because your trust is in God to be your provider, not your ability to make things happen. So you trade trying to be God (which is exhausting) and let God be God.
You Will Also Be a Blessing
You get to partner with God in the work He’s doing in the world. Look at verse 13 again: others will praise God for obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
We see something else here, too – our generosity is a way we share and live the Gospel of Jesus. It’s not a separate thing. Our generosity shows the world what God is like, but more critically, our generosity shows the world what we believe God is ACTUALLY like!
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