By Timothy L. Smith
Among the central themes of the Bible are money and stewardship. And as we see again and again, the Bible is not simply a historic volume. It’s living and vibrant, and relevant to people’s lives.
In my career as a fundraiser, I’ve been exposed to generosity of the greatest magnitude. But I’ve also seen that generosity is not something limited to the wealthy. Some of the most generous people I know are those who give from their small portions. The Bible’s principles of stewardship are actually inspiring generous giving in our world today, among people at all income levels.
Let me show you how.
10 examples of generosity from the Bible
1. Generous people often give more than they are asked to give.
In Exodus 36:1-7, we see God’s people bringing more than enough to meet the need – to the point that Moses must tell them to stop!
We don’t see too many campaigns today in which givers are asked to stop giving! But when it does happen, it’s a special moment.
Giving to a cause that makes you reach for your very best gift can bring some of the greatest fulfillment you’ll ever know! And, often, over-funding a project can create a broader impact. The project can accomplish more than it was originally designed to accomplish.
I worked on a project several years ago in response to the tsunami in Indonesia. People’s response was so great that we were able to establish long-term community development in that region of the world. Long after the disaster relief, we were still there, helping the people most affected.
2. Generous people give in response to a great cause.
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, we see the Corinthian church giving faithfully to help a community of people whom they have never met!
I’ve sponsored a child with a great organization, Food for the Hungry, for many years. I’ve never met this child. I’ve seen his picture. I’ve heard about his education and health care. But I’ve never met him.
One of the most fulfilling things I do every month is read the reports about his progress, his spiritual growth. I will probably never meet him. But I believe so much in the cause championed by this organization, I can trust them to help this child through my giving.
3. Generous people give out of their substance, whether large or small.
In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus compares the widow’s mite to the rich man’s gifts, demonstrating that the gifts of all are needed and used in God’s economy.
This is a well-known story, you’ve probably heard or read it many times, yet it never seems to get old. In my world of generous giving efforts, and even the big project I’m working on right now, the most powerful moments are when I hear stories of sacrifice, whether big or small, in people’s giving.
I’ve seen young children give from their allowance. I’ve seen people of means reach for the largest gift they’ve ever given to take a stand for the Bible.
In each and every case, it’s the sacrifice that counts.
Among many major givers these days, there isn’t actually much sacrifice involved in their giving. In spite of the volume of their contributions, their giving is small, relative to their total capacity. When you come across that person who sets something else aside in order to help accomplish a key task or vision, that is a special gift!