“They are to do good, be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that is really life.”
(1 Timothy 6 v 18-19)
Psalm 24 begins with the words “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. This is a helpful reminder, as we think about extravagant generosity, that everything we have really belongs to God. It reminds us to look at the things we have, (money, talents, resources, time and so on) through God’s eyes rather than our own. Giving generously helps us to re-prioritise our lives and focus on what is lasting and eternal as opposed to things which are temporary, illusory and untrustworthy.
John Wesley is quoted as telling Christians to ‘Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can’.
Robert Schnase puts it like this:
“What Christians earn belongs to God; and they should earn it honestly …
What Christians spend belongs to God; and they should use it wisely,
on things that enhance life and do not diminish it.
What they save belongs to God; and they should invest in ways that strengthen society.
What Christians give belongs to God; and they need to give generously …
in ways that strengthen the body of Christ.”
Today Schnase offers us this prayer and challenge:
Strengthen me, O God, for the hard work of being honest with myself
as I seek to practise Christ-centred generosity.
Challenge: Just for yourself, actually calculate the proportion of your income you give for God’s purposes. Take your monthly giving and divide by your monthly income. Multiply this by 100 to show what percentage of income you currently give. Does the percentage surprise you? How do you feel about it?