Why Financial Generosity Isn’t Optional For Christians
By Fin Sheridan
Who is the most generous person that you know? Take a minute to think about it. We all love generous people: the ones that offer to pick up the bill for dinner, the ones who do really great Christmas and birthday gifts, the ones that just seem to always have some money to share with you.
Who do you think is the most generous person in the world? Well, the chances are, it’s going to be the richest people, right? Whilst it does help to have a lot, in order to give a lot, this article from the Independent newspaper provides a helpful “Generosity Index” showing how much the richest have given away in relation to their current net worth. Whilst he only sits at number 5 in terms of amount given (a mere $6.3billion), Charles Feeney, the ‘James Bond of giving’, has given away 420,000% of his current net worth. An extraordinary achievement, by any standards.
Whether we have $6.3 billion (and if you do, let me know asap), $63 or $0.63, Christians have a God-spoken mandate to be the most generous people that we can. We have a generous God – “For God so loved that he GAVE…” – and should reflect his image by our giving.
“Wealth is uncertain, so we grab onto it. Christians should live differently – wealth is uncertain, so we give it away.”
“Ah, but we can be generous in many ways!” you say, and you’re right. We should be generous with our time, generous with our attention, generous in love and generous in grace. Yet, the Bible also speaks to our treasure, for it is there that our hearts lie. 1 Timothy 4 says:
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
If you’re reading this, then you class as “rich in the present life” because you have access to the internet. This is a direct address to you and I, and a challenging one at that. Paul even addresses one of the fears we have about generosity – the fear that we won’t have enough. Wealth is uncertain, so we grab onto it. Christians should live differently – wealth is uncertain, so we give it away. In doing so, we receive more than money – we lay up eternal treasure that is NOT uncertain and can never be lost.
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