Right back in the Old Testament God has much to say about generosity.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor. Proverbs 22:9
Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. Deuteronomy 15:10
But generosity is so much more than just giving money to the poor – as we shall read this week.
v 9. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
Generosity is a God-quality. Whenever we see a generous act – by anybody whatever – it comes as a reminder of the nature of God. Our human nature may be fallen and spoilt by sin; it is sadly defaced but every act of generosity shouts to us that we were made in God’s image and reflect in some way God’s character. So it is that the life of the one perfect man, Jesus, exhibits generosity in its most dramatic and far-reaching form.
‘Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.’
Chris Tomlin captures the truth of that in his song
King of all days, Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above.
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor.
The generous grace of Jesus lifted us from the eternal poverty of total exclusion from the presence of God into the wonderful richness of being a child of God. If you think of the stairway to God as a billion steep steps, Jesus’ generous grace lifted us up and over every single one of them. There are no half measures with his grace, no demands that we should climb some of the steps unaided. And more than that, his extreme generosity meant that he left behind the riches of heaven and for our sakes suffered the indignity of human poverty. Our trifling generosity can only ever be a pale reflection of his generosity to us, and yet it motivates us to become more like him as we deal generously with those around us.