Danny Anderson: Cultivating Generosity

I think most people have a desire to be more generous, to be more liberal in giving and sharing what they have. Most people would love to be a little less selfish.

When it comes down to it, it’s a bit awkward to be consistently generous. It’s fairly easy to give a one-time gift to a need that stands out. I recently read this comment on blog about charitable giving,

“I donate when I’m moved to do so when emotion grips me. Perhaps I see a sad documentary or watch a disabled person on the street, and I feel an urge to DO something.”

Many people take this approach. But to make giving part of your weekly rhythm is unnatural. What makes generosity awkward is that we are inclined to think about our own needs. We live in a culture that cultivates a focus on our “self”. When was the last time you saw a commercial that tried to get you to buy something for someone else?

The average American donates 3-5% of their income. Only 12% of Christians return the tithe (10% of their income) back to their local church. In a world where there is so much need, we can do better.

So how can generosity become more natural to us?

1. We must understand that being generous is part of who we are.

What I mean is that it is part of our identity. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.” There it is…. “the godly are generous givers.” Ceaser Milan from the Dog Whisperer, says “Fish are made to swim, birds are made to fly, and dogs are made to walk.” I would add, Christians are made to give. It’s who we are. Psalm 112:9 puts it this way, “They share freely and give generously to those in need.”

2. We must understand that being generous reflects the character of God.

God is the most generous being in the universe. The bible says, “He gave his one and only son” John 3:16. There was and is nothing more value, nothing more precious to give than Jesus Christ. When the Father gave his Son for us to pay the penalty for all of our sins, he demonstrated the greatest act of generosity in the universe! So when you and I give, we are acting just like our heavenly father, who, “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45

3. We must understand that being generous allows us to experience life that is truly life.

Jesus promised an “abundant life” to those who would believe John 10:10. Our culture tells us that true fulfillment comes from the accumulation of money and things. Jesus tells us there is a different way. He said, “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive” Acts 20:35. In other words, the way to have true and lasting happiness is to be generous. Do you believe it?

I hope you will step out and be consistently generous. I truly believe the more you give, the more you live.

In what ways can you be more generous?

Danny Anderson is the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Church located south of Indianapolis. Danny has hands-on experience in transitioning a church, creating and casting a new vision, simplifying programs, building teams, and launching new campuses. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jackie, his sons Andrew and Beau, and his daughter Ruby.