Yesterday, I was in Dallas with a friend and heard Joe Stowell, former President of Moody Bible Institute, speak. In one of his talks, he spoke of being a generous person versus being a person of greed. His use of these two words ("generosity" and "greed") went way beyond money issues. Rather, these words describe a spirit, a disposition, and a way of living on many fronts. In essence, these words describe a person's heart.
Some of us have a generous spirit. Basically, we reflect the character of God. After all, God is a generous God. Others of us have greedy hearts. In other words, regardless of what we are doing, we tend to focus on ourselves and our desire for more.
I've been thinking about this since my friend and I returned to Waco last evening. I want to be a generous person. But--I want to have a generous heart because I want to be like God. For example, I want to be generous with mercy.
The world can be such a hard, mercy-less place. Perhaps you can relate to this scene. It is a hot afternoon. Cars are lined up at a stoplight. The light turns green. One car does not begin moving the split second the light turns green. The guy behind this car lays on the horn and looks very irritated. The same kind of thing happens at work and in retail stores every day. Many people treat others without generosity. "You either respond correctly immediately or I will react negatively!" Wow...
People can be really hard on one another. Perhaps the cashier at Target is new. She seems to be fumbling around with the keys at the check-out stand. Maybe she doesn't know how to enter the code for a certain item I am buying. She asks another employee for help and then sheepishly apologizes to me, the customer, explaining that she is new. How will I handle this? Will I sigh deeply and show my impatience? Or, will I remember that God is generous with his mercy and I need to be generous with mercy as well?
I want to be generous today because God is a generous God.
- God is generous with his love. He loves the "world" in general (John 3:16) and yet he loves me (and you) in particular. How generous!
- God is generous with his grace and mercy. He is described as one who is "rich in mercy" even when we are dead in our "transgressions and sins" (Ephesians 2:4). How generous!
- God is generous with his Holy Spirit. He has given his "forever presence" to every believer. God's forever presence (the Holy Spirit) was "...poured out on us generously through Christ Jesus, our Savior" (Titus 3:6). How generous!
One of the most attractive characteristics a person can cultivate is generosity. People who are generous with love, mercy, service, patience, etc. will be attractive because they reflect the very character of God. After all--God is an attractive God. Come to know God and you will want to know more of God. Like David, you will want to "...gaze upon the beauty of the Lord" (Psalm 27:4).
How generous of God.