“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Over the last few weeks we have been diving into the Word and focusing on spiritual disciplines. How have you been impacted through this journey? What specific discipline(s) has the Lord highlighted for you to focus on moving forward?
Has silence taken on a new meaning in your life? Or has your perspective of fasting morphed? Maybe you have not sensed any dramatic shifts, but you now have more nuanced understandings of several of the spiritual disciplines.
Before we transition to the next study theme, we have one more training topic to discuss: generosity.
To start, pull out paper and pen or the notes app on your phone. For the next minute, please list ways you can show generosity in your current sphere of influence. Your goal is to think of as many as possible in these 60 seconds. Don’t second guess. Don’t analyze. Simply picture generosity in your world and go.
60 seconds. Set an alarm if it helps.
What was your experience like? What categories and actions made it to your list?
How I wish this conversation were taking place in person.
Since it is not, I will share a few elements I discovered about my list, some of which surprised me.
The first category on my list was money. Scripture does not shy away from addressing money and its impact on our hearts, minds, and walks with the Lord. Tithing, the practice of returning the first 10% of our income to the Lord, is a key component for keeping our hearts focused on the Lord and what He is doing. The Lord knew how significantly money could ensnare our hearts and even encourages us to test Him to show His faithfulness when we tithe. (Malachi 3:10-12)
Financial generosity, however, is not formulaic and moves beyond tithing. Rather than being defined by a certain number, recipient, or cause, financial generosity is characterized by our willingness to give joyfully as the Lord leads. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
In fact, a key component to any and all generosity is obedience to the Lord.
“Because of the proof provided by this ministry, [fellow believers] will glorify God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone.” (2 Corinithians 9:13)
Our goal is to become more Christlike. (2 Corinthians 3:18) True generosity, the kind that makes us more like Him and demonstrates our spiritual growth, is an outpouring of hearing and obeying. It’s a heart-level response.
Is the Lord asking you to give to a missionary? Is He asking you to help support a single parent? Is He the author of the totally random and unexpected “passing thought” to bring your co-worker a coffee one morning?
The Lord knows each one of us so very intimately and, simultaneously, sees the big picture in all things. Therefore, He knows what each of us needs and how our paths cross. Maybe that random cup of coffee is the warm hug from the Lord your co-worker needs; we may never know how we might be an answer to prayer.
Generosity, then, is about giving open-handedly, no strings attached, zero expectation for accolades; instead, we expect God’s promises outlined in His Word to be fulfilled; His grace will overflow to us, equipping us to do the good work to which He’s called us. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
He will give us what we need that we might live with righteous generosity, bringing glory and thanksgiving to the Lord. (2 Corinthians 9:10-13)
He will build “deep affection” among believers, as those blessed by generosity lift up the givers in prayer. (2 Corinthians 9:14)
And finally, as I made my list, I found that while a few situations were financial, many were not, reminding me generosity includes, but also extends beyond, our finances.
One person is in a challenging season and needs solid, consistent prayer covering. While money may help at some point, the Lord highlighted her name when brainstorming how I could be generous with my time and intercession.
Another idea is to send a handwritten note to a friend who unexpectedly lost her husband this summer. This idea prompts me to be generous with my talents and my time. How could your talents be used generously for the glory of the Lord?
Regardless of what made your list, as we grow and practice our generosity, may we keep our eyes focused on the Lord. He is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith and it is through Him we become more like Him in every spiritual discipline.
My sister, thank you for growing in the Lord by leaning into training more intensely in these spiritual disciplines. May the Lord define and strengthen your “spiritual muscles” and bless your training!
Training, Day 15
Scotty Smith wrote these words as part of a prayer to the Lord, “The primary reward we get for being generous is You being revealed, honored, and glorified.”
Let’s enjoy, to the full the benefit, God being revealed and glorified through our sacrificial, generous, cheerful giving.
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