Three ways to find freedom through generosity
Are you truly free?
Most of us in the Western world have far more than we need. Marie Kondo tapped into the need of millions to tidy up their lives by teaching to keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Developers make large profits on public storage units filled with the overflow of things. We even hoard our time, unable to take a work day off—in 2018, American workers failed to use 768 million days of PTO.
A heart in bondage by greed or fear of scarcity is not free. As Christians, the truth of who Jesus is sets us free—He is the ultimate act of generosity, and His sacrifice is what allows us freedom from the yoke of greed, sin, or, as Paul mentions, works of righteousness (Galatians 2:16). Through faith in Him and following His teaching, we can live open-handedly with our wealth, possessions, time, and talents to experience true freedom through generosity. Here are three ways to find freedom through generosity.
- Be content with what you have: Hebrews 13:5 (ESV) says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” We need to become content in success, suffering, or any circumstance. What matters is God’s presence with us in the joys and pains of life. When we live generous lives, we can be free to see the generosity God pours out upon us every moment of every day. When we are able to find contentment in where God has us each day, and trust that His ways are purposeful, our hearts can be free to do what He asks of us.
- See generosity as a mindset: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (ESV) says, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” When we believe God is the one who provides for every living thing, we live open-handedly and experience that which is “truly life”—a life of freedom through generosity.
- Know who holds our value: It’s easy to feel like our worth lies in the things we have, the things we accomplish, how “busy” we are, or the resources available to us. Those things won’t ultimately fulfill us. The Bible says “But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (The Message). Generosity invites us to train our brains to find our worth in Christ alone, and to know we are enough, we are chosen, we are loved. Then, when He calls us to give, go, or do, we can be free and willing to accept.
Our hearts are freed from the bondage of greed and fear when we position ourselves in readiness to experience the very character of God and His generosity flowing through us. We are free to give what we have away, because we don’t ultimately possess it. Like a farmer, we may do the work to acquire the seed, plant the seed, and water the seed, but God provides the seed, and controls its growth. We are simply stewards, and throughout our lives we may find ourselves stewards of a little or a lot. True freedom lies in our openhanded generosity of all God entrusts us with, knowing that “the rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.” (Proverbs 22:2 ESV).
I invite you to pray for wisdom to understand where God may be leading you next on your generosity journey. Encourage your family to get creative with 19 ways to be generous this summer.
At NCF we pray daily for you, and that He shows us how to walk alongside you. Learn how a Giving Strategy can help your family find freedom through generosity.