Generosity vs Stinginess
Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. - Richard Dawkins
What we call generosity is for the most part only the vanity of giving; and we exercise it because we are more fond of that vanity than of the thing we give. - Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Real generosity is doing something for others even when you are certain you will get nothing back, even a thank you. – Michael Josephson
1. Liberality in giving or willingness to give. (sharing what you have to benefit another)
2. Nobility of thought or behavior. (freedom from pettiness in character or mind)
Synonyms for Generosity: charity, hospitality, unselfish, kindhearted
Antonyms for Generosity: greedy, selfish, stingy, unkind
What the Bible says about Generosity:
Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Proverbs 11:24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.
John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Examples from the Bible:
Zacchaeus; Luke 19:8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
The Church of Acts: Acts 4:32-35 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
The Example of Jesus to Us:
Matthew 10:42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
Luke 21:1-4 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
Matthew 6:1-4 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Personal Thoughts and Application:
It was evening, and my 7 year old asked for cinnamon toast. She begged for her usual 2 pieces, and I gave in but only for 1 piece because it was near bedtime. The hot, sweet goodness of the toast as it came out of the oven caught her Dad’s attention and he inquired about what she had..He obviously wanted a piece of his own, and that sweet little girl, without hesitation, offered to give her Dad “some of mine”. Some of her only piece that she had begged for and was savoring. She was as sincere as generosity can get. Why?…because although she gained much pleasure from eating her bread, she found the sweetness of giving and sharing it with another even more enjoyable.
To me….that is what Christian generosity is all about….sacrifice, sharing, giving, offering with genuine care, concern, and goodwill behind the offer. God loves a cheerful giver because it is a true display of selfless love. It is not the self-seeking giving that earns someone recognition or favor, but just the simple pleasure of seeing another benefit, enjoy, be blessed.
Prayer For You: May God grant you the wonder of being a cheerful giver and may you be blessed in the sharing and giving of your resources….time, talent, possessions, wisdom, etc. May God richly reward you with the joy of blessing another.