I believe most of us desire to be more generous and even believe that we should be more generous. However, when it comes down to it, we struggle to be consistently generous.
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?
If we are going to do better at this thing called generosity we must first understand it is also something God wants for us. In second Corinthians chapter 8, the apostle Paul encourages the Corinthians to follow the example of the Christians in Macedonia who were incredibly generous even though they were living in poverty. Check out how he describes their situation,
“They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will.” 2 Corinthians 8:2,3
WOW! These guys gave until it hurt. In Paul’s eyes, they were excellent at generosity. They were the example to follow. So Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians, “Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving” Vs 7.
In other words, “Be great at giving. Be an all-star at generosity. Don’t play small. Don’t be average.” The word, excel means to abound, to exceed the ordinary, to overflow and to go above and beyond.
God wants us to be excellent at generosity. It’s His will for your life.
In order to do that, we must get rid of three things. If you and I are going to excellent at generosity we must get rid of:
Greed is an excessive desire for money and possessions. It takes over our lives when we come to believe that money can make us happy, and make us valuable. Greed thrives when we believe that money can do only what God can do in our souls.
Jesus warned us, “Beware, Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15
Greed destroys the possibility of generosity.
Debt has a way of piling up in a stealthy way. Before you even know it, you have payments that seem overwhelming. When we are strapped with payments, generosity becomes almost impossible.
Solomon warned us when he wrote, “…the borrower is the slave to the lender” Proverbs 22:7
Many of us would love to be more generous, but the money we have is already obligated to others. We are no longer free. We have become slaves. If you want to be generous Debt must go!
We know we should trust God, but on a day-to-day basis we gravitate toward self-reliance. To help us overcome this tendency God gave us the principle of the tithe. To tithe means to return back to God 10% of all we have earned (Leviticus 27:20).
Returning the tithe pushes us into a situation where we must trust in him. It forces us into the area of faith. When we do it we are acknowledging that He is our provider and that our confidence is in him to take care of us.
Tithing is a faith builder. It causes us to place our hope in God. Not ourselves and not our money.
And in the end, God promised this,
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!”
Then he says, “Try it! Put me to the test!” Malachi 3:10
Incredible! God says, “I dare you”.
Now the choice is yours.
Do you want to be more generous? Then take the necessary steps… get rid of greed, debt, and self-reliance. I know God will show up in your life like nerve before!
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.