A friend recently shared a story with me that I am sharing with you at the end of this blog post. It is a moving story by Kristine Levine of generosity and how to pass that characteristic on to our children. It’s also a story of what happens when we give our life with unlimited generosity to others. But here is the life take-a-way that struck me hard. As we look over our lives for the last year and take our own personal inventory for living into 2020; what are we holding back?
How many years have you known Jesus Christ and have never shared that Good News message with a neighbor? You have been given a gift of great generosity by God, who did not even spare his own son, why are you not living a life of generosity in sharing that message?
We have not been guaranteed long life in scripture; and many men and women come to Christ knowing their days are numbered due to persecution around the world. They make their lives count and are targeted because they share their faith with extraordinary generosity; they don’t tuck it away and selfishly hide it, knowing it will cost them everything.
Don’t hold back the very best that you have to give away
We don’t face persecution here in the Western world, (perhaps mild discrimination that has been often earned). Yet when we take inventory of our life in 2020, we will hold back the best of what we are and who we are because it is uncomfortable, or awkward, or not popular, or we might come face-to-face with someone who makes our life messy? Is that authentic generosity?
In exchange for our eternal salvation God asks only one thing of us; to love him and love our neighbor. He further spells out what that looks like in the Great Commission in Matthew 28: 18-20. This defines what we do when we make him our LORD and Savior. We follow Jesus in baptism and raise up out of the water into a new life of purpose, fully clothed with the mission of Christ, holding back nothing. This is high resolution generosity.
May I challenge you in 2020 to open the door of your home and reach out to your neighbors. The single mom; the lonely retirees; the busy family with no time for meals together; the lost and broken all around you? Yes even the neighbor who doesn’t clean up after their doggy walks, or whose teens are loud and rude. All of them are waiting for you to be generous with the only gift you have to give of eternal significance. This gift is more valuable than gold, food, clothing or an environmentally responsible landscape. Jesus is already at your dining room table waiting for the guests to arrive. (Rev 3:20) Bring them in.
Giving to the poor or helping the oppressed makes us feel good emotionally, but those acts should all flow out of our life naturally when we live authentic generosity with the message of Jesus every day. Compassion for people’s physical needs is a Godly characteristic, but it does not give anyone eternal life and is not the final destination of love. People who are not Christians can give with generosity and compassion; so what makes our giving money and stuff sanctified? I would submit absolutely nothing unless – it follows the message of the cross in Jesus’ name. The one thing we have to give that is different from anyone else is Jesus and the cross of salvation. This is generosity that sets us apart. This is living generosity at the highest resolution.
Loving the whole person is what God does best and what he asks of us. The world is waiting, and like lost children with no boundaries they are looking everywhere for what we already have but are keeping tucked away on a shelf. No wonder they despise us. Jesus’s message is not insignificant, but we hide it like we are embarrassed or ashamed of it.
It is the fellowship of our commission that makes the church not the other way around
Make your life count in 2020 like never before. Don’t hold back the very best that you have to give away. Bring it out into the light of day! Give it the time in your life it merits! Invite someone new over for coffee; mentor younger women, invite neighbors over to talk - what you have to share is how God has changed you! No one else has your story and God put you next to your neighbors just so they could hear your story and you can hear theirs. The Holy Spirit will do the heart transformation job – we aren’t asked to fix anyone. And listening is our second most powerful tool in our toolbox.
What else do you need? What are you waiting for? You don’t need permission from your church. You don’t need permission from your HOA. You not only already have permission you have a Commission from Jesus. Don’t be restricted only to approved church programs. It is the fellowship of our commission that makes the church not the other way around. As much as I love the church, it is only The Church as long as we are accomplishing the mission of Christ. You are responsible for your life and You have been empowered my friends! Give the Good News away! What an incredible way to raise your kids and build a strong home in the coming year. You have within your life the power to transform our messed up world with out-of-this-world generosity one relationship at a time! This is high resolution generosity.
rarely are daily acts of living as fishers of men mentioned and celebrated in church
Sound inconsequential? I know the mega church I attend has six campuses with more than ten thousand attending services every weekend. What if even half of the people in this church lived like this? Would this church have an impact in their community? God kept the process simple on purpose from the very beginning. Our responsibility is all about making relationships with those not yet in Christ and fulfilling the ministry Jesus came to earth as a baby to put into motion. It is simple while at the same time the most valuable thing we have to give away and we still hold it with tightly closed hands.
We are asked often in church services to give money, or to volunteer for acts of service, or to give food and clothing for the poor; but rarely are we held accountable for generously passing on the message of salvation daily in our life. We are given kudos for big offerings but rarely are daily acts of living as fishers of men mentioned and celebrated in church. How can this be when this is exactly what we are all about? Jesus said as the Father sent him, he is now sending us out into the world to bring all the lost into a right relationship with him. Why are we still holding back the very best - our spiritual wealth?
Generous, sacrificial love gave us hope for all eternity; will you live that generosity in your life this year? I promise you will experience the heights and depths of His love like never before! You will never be the same. Now prepare to live Generosity in High Resolution in 2020.
Follow this link and read the short story about generosity and apply it to your spiritual wealth.
The Hospitality Table would like to help you get started. We want to come speak at your church, talk with your small group or meet with a bunch of rebels who just want to live for Christ beyond the ordinary and limited love the church has offered our world so far.
Email us to set up a time where we can empower each other to press forward and live HIGH RESOLUTION GENEROSITY IN 2020.
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