Learning to understand generosity has become a personal pursuit of mine. It is helpful to study generosity in the Bible through scripture and stories.
I find when we are grateful and appreciative, it is easier to give more freely and exhibit generosity.
So, what does the Bible say about generosity? I experienced an example of Biblical generosity in an encounter with a small boy.
When I wonder, what is generosity, I am reminded of the little boy on a Honduran mountainside.
What is Generosity? How a Little Boy Taught Me the Meaning
Walking on the lush, tropical mountainside of El Chile, Honduras, my cousin Maritza and I were surrounded by the flowering coffee trees, a dirty pig pen, and chickens wandering freely.
We stopped as she pointed to a small, tattered clay house where my mother and her eleven siblings were raised. It was a primitive structure with dirt floors and an open fire burning.
As I turned around to take in the humbling panorama, a small boy with outstretched hands approached seemingly out of nowhere.
The brown eyed boy, whose name was Chungo, was dressed in a faded t-shirt and blue jeans. He had followed us from a distance when he suddenly made his move and timidly said, “hola”.
In one of his hands was a small, tan chicken egg. He extended his hand and sweetly gazed at me as he offered his generous gift.
He didn’t have to understand, what is generosity, because it was a natural response for him to give.
I knew the egg could not travel with me, and I wrestled with the thought of what the cost to him may be.
Sometimes when I struggle understanding what does the Bible say about generosity, I remember Chungo’s sacrificial gift and am reminded of the gift Christ offers us.
As I tried to decide how to handle the situation, it became clear that my acceptance of his gift would bring Chungo the most delight. He asked me to remember him as he turned over the chicken egg.
For Chungo, the egg was not just an egg, it was a sacrifice.
I remember the day I met Chungo and his willingness to surrender a valuable gift as an offering of friendship.
Because of Chungo, learning how to be more generous became a goal for me.
I have always wondered how someone so young, who owned so little could demonstrate the answer to, ‘what is generosity?’.
He demonstrated the Biblical principle that we experience more joy by giving than receiving.
Growing in Generosity
I would like to be always growing in generosity, and practice giving freely regardless of my circumstances.
When we are growing in generosity, we walk with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation.
The characteristic of gratitude is an attitude and a decision that demonstrates appreciation. It is a trait I hope to exhibit in my life and teach to my children as well.
Knowing I am loved and complete in Christ gives me the ability to be more appreciative and thankful. This “attitude of gratitude” serves as a root system providing me with the capacity for growing in generosity.
The action of giving with God-inspired motives, which is taught through scriptures about generosity, enables us to understand it is more blessed to give than receive because the act of generosity brings peace, contentment and true happiness.
What Does the Bible Say about Generosity?
The Bible says that when our identity in Christ is secure we can love and give to others from the overflow of God’s love for us.
Jesus demonstrated a spirit of generosity by pouring His life out to secure our salvation. The three years of His ministry on earth were full of examples of generosity in the Bible.
To understand what does the Bible say about generosity, we can begin by studying Bible verses about generosity and the life of Christ in the four gospels of the New Testament starting with the book of Matthew.
Bible Verses about Generosity
There are many Bible verses about generosity. Here are a few scriptures we can turn to when we are wondering what does the Bible say about generosity and see that Jesus is the ultimate example:
- 1 John 3:16 NLT
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
- Matthew 20:28 NLT
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- John 10:11 NLT
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
- Acts 4:34 NLT
“There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.”
- Acts 20:34-35 NLT
“You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. 35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Bible Story about Generosity
My Honduran friend reminded me of the Bible story about generosity Jesus told about the poor widow in the book of Mark:
“While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Mark 12:41-44 NLT
When we want to know what is generosity, we can look to Chungo and the woman at the temple. It is not enough to give from a surplus.
Growing in generosity requires giving freely even when we don’t feel like letting go of something.
Growing in generosity requires that we sometimes give from a place of deficit. It causes us to place our trust in God and not our own ability. It shows what we are devoted to and the condition of our heart.
How to Grow in Generosity
Learning how to grow in generosity is connected to the resources we manage in our daily lives. Our 3 main resources are time, money and love. How we manage these resources directly impacts our ability to do what the Bible says about generosity.
How to Grow in Generosity with Our Time
What does the Bible say about generosity with our time?
Do we sacrifice our TIME in order to invest and serve others? The Bible says that our life is like a mist or fog. It goes by quickly and once we spend it, it is gone.
This one can be hard for me if I am not careful. It is easy to get swept up in “busyness” instead of reflecting on what God is directing me to do.
It’s always a good time to demonstrate generosity with others but I have to intentionally look for opportunities.
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:14-15 NLT
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9 NLT
How to Grow in Generosity with Our Money
What does the Bible say about generosity with our money?
Do we freely give MONEY away and sacrifice what we want to buy in order to financially bless others? This one is difficult, because being controlled by money and all that it offers is intoxicating.
The Bible says the love of money can be destructive to our soul. Chungo exhibited a belief that God owns it all and ultimately He meets our needs.
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10 NLT
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT
How to Grow in Generosity with Our Love
What does the Bible say about generosity with our love?
Do we sacrifice our own need to be loved to demonstrate LOVE to others? There is something empowering when we know that we are loved by our Heavenly Father that allows us to generously love others.
When operating from a place of God’s security, it is easier to pour out love on others. We are God’s beloved and nothing can separate us from Him.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 NLT
“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NLT
A Life Challenge on How to Grow in Generosity
My chance encounter with Chungo created a life challenge on how to grow in generosity and be more willing to show appreciation to others.
- When I have been too busy, it was harder for me to be generous with my time.
- When I have been financially strapped, it was harder for me to be generous with my money.
- When I am struggling in a relationship, it is harder for me to be generous with my love and love unconditionally.
Reliance on God gives me the ability to pull from His limitless reservoir so I can be like Chungo; I can grow in generosity to experience the blessing of giving instead of focusing on my need for receiving.
I can’t help but imagine what a different world it would be if everyone would grow in generosity.
When we understand, what does the Bible say about generosity and use this wisdom to love others, we demonstrate the meaning of a generous heart.
A postscript to my serendipitous encounter with Chungo is I recently discovered his real name is Jesus…how perfect!
Mary Rooney Armand loves to write inspiring, faith based stories. She focuses on helping others grow in their intimacy with Christ and thrive in their personal relationships. Mary lives in New Orleans with her husband Cory and four children. Besides writing, she teaches Bible Studies and leads small groups. In 2020 she created ButterflyLiving and a Bible Study titled “Identity” which is available on Amazon. To learn more visit maryarmand.com.