Practicing generosity is the intention to find release from attachment to gratifying our ego needs by giving freely of what we have that is of value. (unknown source)
It is difficult in our age of consumerism and ‘me-ism’ to live a detached life. Detachment is not the lack of caring about others. Detachment is the refusal to fill needs in our lives with illegitimate things. Paul’s contentment statement in Philippians 4 teaches detachment. It was not what he had a right to have personally but his responsibility to the Gospel entrusted to him that motivated his actions and choices. Paul’s witness: I know how to live in ways that are abounding. I know how to live in ways that are abased. I can live at either extreme (or anywhere in between) because I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
The Bible indicates that our needs are legitimate and part of our created being. Prior to the Fall, Adam was lonely and needed embodied companionship. Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve needed love and respect, worth and significance, and a sense of belonging. It was after the Fall that these legitimate needs began to be filled in illegitimate ways. Cain slew Able. The people of the plains began to build a city unto themselves. Kings were ruthless in the treatment of others and in securing their throne. The illegitimate ways continue to web out, at deeper levels, and with devastating consequences today.
Generosity is the opposite of hoarding. “Things” are not all that we may hoard. Generally speaking what we do hoard are those elements that fulfill a sense of security and/or significance in our person. Generosity of spirit gives willingly and graciously because of the assurance that we can and never will run out of anything we need when we trust the promise that all we need for life and godliness has been given to us in Jesus.
It would be a great practice for all (leaders and followers alike) to use 2 Peter 1: 2 -11 and Philippians 4:10-14 as the basis for an examination of heart related to our personal expression of generosity. What do you legitimately need? How are you going after it? Is anyone hurt in the process? Am I hurting myself? Do I trust that God will provide for all my needs in Jesus? What of value am I generously investing and imparting to those around me? Do I give to receive or am I able to give without reciprocity?
Gratifying ego needs in illegitimate ways is a fear driven activity. Fear driven leadership is demanding on your emotions, your time, and is potentially harmful to those under your leadership. Perhaps examining your life and submitting to the spiritual practice of generosity is a timely endeavor.
We are still living out Easter Days! Pentecost is yet to come! What generous activities related to the Easter Story are captivating and transforming you?
Blessings as you enjoy this month’s offerings on Mission Mover. We uplift together God, Who daily lavishes His love!
Let us hear from you!