Generosity, the type that cuts across all of life, is a beautiful mark of a follower of Christ. While the biblical vision for generosity certainly includes much more than money, it does not include less.
I mentioned in a blog about a generosity blueprint how Paul asked for money by saying, “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:8–9). What a test! Paul says that the difference between moralists and Christians is that a Christian wants to give as generously as they have received.
A moralist is one who thinks God accepts them because of their goodness. Earlier this summer we talked about the moralist in relation to the story of Joseph. The moralist may look within to find the willpower to give of themselves because of a love of self. What we saw in the text was Joseph looking outside himself to the will of God.
The moralist position is actually a dangerous place because it can be a way of avoiding what is going on inside of you, and thereby avoiding Jesus. The moralist forgets their need. They fail to recognize Jesus did not come as their moral teacher, but came as the Creator and Savior who owns everything to begin with. He left riches to purchase us, and we generously give as we have received.
As Tim Keller has said, “we always give effortlessly to those things that give our life meaning.” Look at what you give yourself to effortlessly, systematically, and thoughtfully. This will help you see what’s really ruling your life—it will help you see where your affections lie. These functional “gods” will gladly absorb your time and money and give only fleeting satisfaction in return. A Christian is one who knows they are sinners saved purely by grace, and giving should be a joyful response to God’s grace.
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