What the blessed man teaches us about finding true freedom through generosity.
A 2016 study by researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland found conclusive evidence that generosity boosts happiness. While an injection of happiness sounds pretty great, as Christians we know “boosts” are temporary. Lasting joy is found when we set our hopes on God, the constant provider of all that we need. Through faith in Him, we know that our needs are met, and we can then live openhandedly with our wealth, possessions, time, and talents to experience true freedom through generosity.
What does it look like to find true freedom through generosity? We can look to the blessed man (or woman) in Psalm 112 (ESV) to teach us, and the generations to come, how to live a truly free— and truly generous—life.
Verse 1-2: Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Parents and grandparents desire that our children will not only be mighty, but live a blessed life. A blessed life begins with knowing God, and out of that relationship flows a heart of praise and thankfulness.
Verse 3-4: Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
Even on dark days, we see God shining. Even in the darkness, the blessed man who fears the Lord will be filled with generous words and actions.
Verse 5: It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.
The blessed man is openhearted with others because he is not holding on too tightly. One of the five obstacles to generosity is the struggle with a scarcity mentality. As we rightly see our lives as stewards, we are able to live with less fear and more generosity.
Verse 6-8: For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
If our heart is in bondage, we won’t be free. The blessed man knows that the Lord is in complete control. He doesn’t have to fear or exact vengeance because he knows God will be glorified in the end—how freeing!
Verse 9: He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.
The blessed man has ordered his affairs in such a way that he isn’t constrained in his budget or resources. He is free to faithfully steward and worship God by being generous.
Verse 10: The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!
Anger tends to be driven by fear. And fear can be a barrier to generosity—fear of not having enough, not knowing how to give, or not keeping up with social norms. There is little freedom in fear.
Are you truly free? The grand narrative of scripture is one where God redeems people from every tribe, tongue, and people group. We see this thread of generosity running throughout the entire Bible. Being generous with all that we have is a great antidote for a life of fear, anger, and constraint. In Christ, we are free indeed.
A great place to start is with prayer for the wisdom to understand where God may be leading you next on your generosity journey. Invite 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.