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Reflection: Generosity Defined

A little while back, Pastor and Christian blogger, John Poitevent, posted a blog series on generosity. In these posts he analyzes the concept of “Consumer Charity” and challenges us to reevaluate our hearts and mind-set in where we give and how we give. What is our definition of generosity? Has a secular perspective watered down our idea of generosity? Why do we give? Are we joyful in our giving? These are just a few questions we can be asking ourselves.

You can read the full articles here and here, but below are three things I really appreciated about his posts:

1) We are challenged to examine our HEART in giving. What are our attitudes and motives towards giving? Is it out of obligation? Do we give begrudgingly? Does our giving only happen when it is convenient? Most of these questions revolve around “us” and the way “we” feel, but the heart of giving should revolve around Christ. Poitevent reminds us, “You see, as believers, our giving is not just meant to help people, it’s meant to bring God glory and be a tangible picture of the gospel we proclaim”. Does our giving point to Christ and bring him honor? (2 Cor. 9:12-15)

2) We are reminded that giving should be SACRIFICIAL. Our giving should be consistent, sacrificial, and a discipline that we maintain and practice. It’s easy to fall into the temptation to compare how much we are giving compared to someone else, but only God knows our hearts. We should consider the personal sacrifice, regardless of the amount. By God’s grace, we have the ultimate picture of sacrifice in Christ’s death on the cross. Through the word we are re minded of the woman from Luke 21:1-4 who sacrificially gave all she had, even in her poverty.

3) We are told to be WISE in our giving. Do you always know where your donations are going? One thing we can do is really research the organization we are giving our finances to. Poitevent talks about how overwhelmed our society has become with what he calls “Consumer Charity”. Lots of things we buy these days support a cause, and this is not to say that these things are bad. The challenge is to really understand where your money is going. Consider how much of your investment or donation is really going to those in need. Poitevent ends his second post with this, “Don’t ever assume that your purchase is making a significant impact. Do your research. If you really believe in the cause, give and give generously”.(Matthew 6:21)

We should remember that everything we have, whether it’s our finances, time, material items, or even our friendships and relationships, belongs to God. We are here on this earth merely as stewards of these gifts. God has entrusted us to seek biblical wisdom and discernment in stewarding our finances and resources, and this is where our opportunity to be faithful and obedient lies. It is tempting to look at our giving and think very factually, but it’s not just about the numbers, it’s about the heart. To give joyfully and whole-heartedly, we must first have a right understanding God. As you come to know God more, allow him to transform your heart towards generosity and delight in Him!

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