Practicing Generosity with All Your Mind
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. - Galatians 5:22,23
In the passage from Galatians, which has become known as “The fruit of the Spirit,” we see that generosity, sharing well with others, is included in the list. Naming generosity as one of the fruits of the spirit reminds us that generosity takes time to blossom and mature. If we want to harvest fruit in our lives, we need to plant the appropriate seeds, water and nurture the seeds, and then patiently wait for the tree to grow and bear fruit.
A mature spirit of generosity takes time to develop. We must allow God to plant the seeds of generosity within us, and then we must continue to water and nurture those seeds until one day we will bear the fruit of generosity.
If, however, our generosity does not grow out of our relationship with God, it is likely to be short-lived and self-serving. Sometimes our generosity can be about our ego and a desire to say, “Hey, look at me,everyone. Aren’t I a generous person?” In contrast, when our generosity is grounded in our faith in God, then we say through our words and actions, “Hey, look at Godeveryone. Isn’t God’s generosity amazing?”
In the Gospel of Luke there is a story of Jesus healing ten lepers. All ten are healed, but only one comes back to Jesus to offer thanks. Jesus commends the one for his gratitude and says to him, “Your faith has made you well.” When we give thanks to God for the innumerable blessings that have been bestowed upon us, our faith indeed makes us well, along with others in our lives whom we touch and are touched by.
Making it personal: When you read through the nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians, do you see a connection between generosity and any of the other fruits? Do you see a difference in the type of generosity that is really about serving oneself versus the kind of generosity that is truly about serving others and God? Can you think of examples of these different motivations for being generous in your own life?
Follow along with us this Advent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.