Practicing Generosity with All Your Strength
For all things come from you [God], and of your own have we given you.- 1 Chronicles 29:14
In Brian Cole’s reflection last Sunday, he candidly shared the fact that his kindergarten report card noted that when it came to sharing well with others, he received an “N” for Needs Improvement. Undoubtedly most five-year-olds are still learning that lesson, and if we adults are honest, we would most likely admit that we, too, are also still practicing this lesson.
“For all things come from you [God], and of your own have we given you.” That verse is familiar to many Christians because it is often repeated when the offering is collected during Sunday worship. The words acknowledge that what is being offered to God in worship is already God’s and that we are simply stewards of the gifts that God has already given us. This verse represents a mature understanding of generosity as it reminds us that when we are generous both with God and with others, we are merely sharing what God has already given us. All that is ours is actually created and provided by God.
This kind of spiritual maturity is the direct opposite of the inner five-year-old in all of us who wants to say, “All of this is mine, and I don’t have to share if I don’t want to. You can’t make me.” As we achieve greater spiritual maturity, we share not because we have to or because someone makes us, but because we genuinely want to. We are grateful for all that God has given us and we want to share that abundance, with God and with others.
Making it personal: If you reflected on your current level of “sharing well with others” would you give yourself an “E” for Excellent, “S” for Satisfactory, or an “N” for Needs Improvement? If you seek improvement, what small steps might you take in the next few days? How and with whom could you be more generous? Do you fully believe what is expressed in the verse above from 1 Chronicles? How does that belief impact your 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.