Organizing your life for generosity and obedience
The Resurrection story is the Christian’s model for generosity. A Father gives His Son, the Son gives everything He has, and the Father and the Son give the Spirit (John 15:26 ESV). What were God’s motives behind sending Jesus? What was Jesus’ motivation for his ultimate and excruciating obedience to fulfill his commitment to the cross? What moved the Father and the Son to send the Spirit? Examining their motives can help us understand what ours ought to be as we seek to worship and obey Him through structuring our lives for generosity.
Motives for generosity and obedience
We can look to the most recognizable verse in all of Scripture to know the Father’s motive: “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. (John 3:16). God’s motivation is to see people – to see you! – rescued, redeemed, and restored.
Jesus came so you could have life and have it to the full. That life is available every time you join Him and use His good gifts to participate in His kingdom here on earth. Jesus calls us to give (Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:7), and giving is worship and obedience. We must reorganize our lives to lead with gospel-motivated generosity as an act of obedience.
Organizing our lives for generosity and obedience
1. Examine our motives: Motives matter more than money. The story of The Widow’s Offering (Mark 12:41-44) illustrates God’s hope for our motivation toward generosity. Jesus sat across from the temple’s treasury with the disciples and watched many rich people put in large amounts of money as an offering. Then a poor widow came along and put in two small copper coins. Jesus taught the disciples that the woman gave more than the rich, who offered what they didn’t need. The two coins were all she had, and yet she offered them to God.
Do we approach generosity as an opportunity to participate in something beyond ourselves? Or do we see generosity as an obligation, giving from what we wouldn’t miss anyway? True obedience, true generosity must be motivated by our heart, not our guilt.
2. Simplify our finances: As our wealth increases, so do the endless ways our hearts can get set on it (Psalm 62:10b). Setting a financial finish line – putting a cap on our income or lifestyle at a predetermined point – helps us sacrificially avoid accumulation. All we have today, and all that we will have tomorrow, is owned by Him and given to us to steward well. With that understanding, we can live a life of gratitude that fuels generosity.
3. Prioritize our time: God calls Christians to be generous with our money and our time. The Barna Group reports that they go hand in hand – those who give more money volunteer more often. And those who volunteer more often give more money. Do you place serving others above accumulating wealth or leisure time? If not, write down how you spend your time for one week. What patterns do you see, and where might you make changes to reorganize towards generosity?
Ask the Owner for generous obedience
Obedient generosity isn’t prescriptive – Jesus doesn’t provide us with a standard or a specific guideline. He shares examples of His expectations, though, through stories like the widow and her two coins. The only way to know what obedience looks like for each one of us individually, we must ask the Owner how we can reorganize our lives to have more gospel-motivated generosity.
To get started, ask Him to reveal how your life is (or isn’t) drawing you closer to and growing you to be more like Jesus. Is your inclination to be generous with all that God has given you to steward? Or is it to hold tightly to what you have out of fear of scarcity?
Next, read our 10 biblical principles to illuminate how God can use generosity in your life. A significant first step could be to open a Giving Fund or, if you have one already, consider non-cash giving or other creative ways to make the most of all God has given you.
Ready to take the next step in generosity and obedience? Let’s have a conversation.