The Generous Church
The following is an excerpt from our daily devotional series “Back to the Basics,” written by IFA contributing writer Gloria Robles.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need (Acts 4:32–35 NIV).
Here is a picture of the first church after the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Not only do we see a unified church, but we also see a church that was generous. They were abundant givers. Nowadays, generosity has become so tied to giving to the Church that there is a negative stigma involved. But generosity is not about how much we give; it’s really about what is in a person’s heart. The disciples were eager and ready to help those who had needs. The Scripture says explicitly that there were no needy people among them. The believers were the hands and feet of Jesus.
Can you imagine what our churches would look like if we operated that way today? Imagine churches and gatherings in which there were no needs among the people because they were eager to share and to help one another. Sadly, many churches don’t look like this. We have a me first mentality. If another person’s needs do not affect me personally, then it’s not my concern. Can you imagine if Jesus reacted this way to our needs?
Generosity involves more than giving monetarily. It can be lending of your time or of your talents, whatever those may be. The tells us that whatever we do is done not for ourselves, but for the Lord. Consider this Bible verse:
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father (Colossians 3:17 NLT).
Perhaps the disciples were so generous because they saw the Lord moved with compassion for the people. Jesus displayed generosity when He multiplied a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands who were hungry (see Matthew 14:13–21). Generosity is synonymous with goodness and is also listed as a fruit of the Spirit. This is the Christlike character that we as believers are called to cultivate in our lives. The disciples witnessed firsthand the goodness of God through Christ’s actions on earth, and they continued those practices through their teachings to the early Church.
We have strayed far from our roots. We are called to be like Christ. He did only what He saw His Father do and say. I suppose the questions we must ask ourselves are: Do I think God has been generous? Have I seen the goodness of God in my life? Has God given to me or blessed me more than I could have ever asked?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ … (Ephesians 1:3 NKJV).
Yes, the Lord is generous. He gave above all that we could ever ask or think when He let Jesus die in our place. It’s incomprehensible at times. We are called to show the character of Christ for the glory of God. In fact, Jesus told his disciples that they should follow His example and do what He did (see John 13:15). If we are to be like Christ, then we are to be all in. We cannot pick the attributes we like and exclude the ones we don’t. I want to be like Him and represent Him well. Do you?
Honestly evaluate yourself. Is there room for generosity in your life? Do you look away from the needs of those around you? Does the thought of giving make you angry due to some misrepresentation in some churches? Confess any hardness of heart you may be harboring, and repent. The Bible tells us not to withhold good from others when it is within the power of our hands to help (see Proverbs 3:27–28). Ask the Lord where you could be giving more, whether monetarily or from your time or talents? I promise that if you sincerely ask the Lord to show you, He will answer.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25 NIV).
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God (Hebrews 13:16).
Father, thank You for Your goodness. Thank You for giving extravagantly. You don’t ask me to be generous for selfish reasons. You ask only that my fruit should represent You well. You ask for my obedience. Forgive me for my reluctance to share with those who are in need. I don’t want to be like the shrewd servant in the parable, who buried his talents in the ground. I want to share my talents, because it is You who gave them to me in the first place. I want to be generous because You are generous. I want to follow the example that Christ set. Show me, Lord, where I can use my talents. Show me where I can invest more time. Show me opportunities where I can give more to those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What is this article stirring in your spirit? Share below.
IFA contributing writer Gloria Robles is a passionate intercessor with a prophetic voice for today. For more from Gloria, go to Spotify or Anchor and listen to her podcast, Something To Share. Photo Credit: Bjorn Brekelmans/Getty Images.
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