By Mike McKay
I was out on a walk with my grandsons the other day and noticed a mom with two kids in tow. They seemed to be in a hurry but as they were scurrying along, the mom kept one moving a little faster as they crossed the parking lot and kept the other from wandering to far on his bike. Safely on the sidewalk, they were moving along until something stopped the mom.
The kids, however, kept going as they were distracted by a puppy passing by. One of kids, now noticing her mom had halted and was reaching into her purse, said to her mom, ‘What are you doing?” The mom said nothing and pulled out a few bills and walked over to a homeless woman and handed her the money. The kids’ attention was now locked on mom, taking in her every move. The homeless woman was appreciative and thanked the mom profusely.
The mom picked up her pace and moving the kids forward marched on. The kids were both looking at their mom, back to the homeless woman, back to their mom. As they passed me, one of them said, “Why did you do that, Mom?” The mom, with a deep satisfaction on her face said, “It’s good to help others and it is fun to share.” The little boy was thinking for a moment and said, “I want to give to someone, can I have a dollar?”
I did not get to see what happened next but that mom did way more than help a person in need. She was shaping young lives to not only notice opportunities to be generous, but to act upon them. That mom’s gift did provide a benefit to the one in need and that mom also obtained the satisfaction and good feeling from being a help, but she also experienced the gain of instilling a generous spirit in her kids. When we are generous, the gain is amazing. The Bible confirms this truth.
Cypress Church Lead Pastor Mike McKay and wife Kristi
Luke 6:38 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
So yes, we should be generous because there are needs we can help meet.
Proverbs 3:27 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Being generous keeps our natural selfish and wanton tendencies in check, yet being generous also enriches our lives.
Proverbs 11:24-25 24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
That enrichment is the deep joy of helping out another, contributing to a worthy cause, funding a worthwhile organization, and living in line with the generous life God desires us to live.
Acts 20:35 35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
So why not be generous? Now, it may take some calculated thought, because we are also to be good stewards (managers) of all that God has given us. To help us, the Bible has some great guidelines on giving (see 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, Malachi 3:10-11). Here are three guidelines from 2 Corinthians 9:7
2 Corinthians 9:7 7 Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The first guideline is to make this an individual matter, ‘each one’ meaning don’t compare your generosity to another. You wrestle with God and give as He encourages you to give. Next give decisively, ‘made up his mind’ simply, think it through; consider if it is the best thing to do, is it a good use of the resources God has given you?. As well, give passionately, engage your heart, not for recognition, but because God moved your heart to give and there is a joy in giving the gift.
For it is truly so much fun to give. I know one young adult who took a bunch of one dollar bills and went out to a shopping center and just handed them out. They said it was great fun to watch people’s reaction as some were surprised, cautious, thankful, appreciative, and even turned to be generous themselves. Surrendering to generosity is well worth it, and besides, God has been so generous to us (see John 3:16), why would we not want to be generous?
Let’s be a blessing today and look for ways to be generous. What person can you bless? What organization can you help? What cause can you support? It does not have to be much. You can even be generous with your time and your talents. There is a gain from surrendered generosity.
If this subject interests you, we invite you to join us this Sunday as we continue our current teaching series called “Surrender: An unexpected journey to thriving as a follower of Christ.” You can check out our website for more details, www.cypresschurch.net. We would love to have you stop by or listen in online.
Seeking to enjoy the fun of being generous alongside you, Mike.
Mike McKay is the Lead Pastor of Cypress Church in Cypress, California