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What does the Bible say about Generosity?

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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

Honduran Mountain-what does the Bible say about generosityWalking 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.

Flowers-what does the Bible say about generosity

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.’

Hand with flowers-what does the bible say about generosity

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.

wall with clock-what does the Bible say about generosity

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

 

hands with eggs-what does the bible say about generosity

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!

 

 

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46 thoughts on “What does the Bible say about Generosity?”

  1. Avatar

    Your storytelling in this article brought the spirit of “growing in generosity” to life for me. I think it’s the story of the little boy (now to go along with the widow) that will help me remember and be more intentional. I think i’ll share it with others too when the opportunity presents! Thank you!

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    I love how you wrote your stories! The verse you chose from Acts challenged me and makes me think of earlier in Acts (chapter 2) of the generosity of the early church and how no one was in need. Thanks for writing!

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    Love it and I especially love the ending “Reliance on God gives me the ability to pull from His limitless reservoir so I can be like Chungo and become more generous and experience the blessing of giving instead of focusing on my need for receiving.” What a powerful way to live, that is also my desire… God Bless you and thanks for writing this..

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    Really great post! I have definitely thought about how I need to be more generous. I could definitely give more in several aspects of my life, so thank you for reminding me in such a loving way!

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    I really enjoyed reading your reflections about generosity, Mary. It’s amazing how we can learn from people who have very little in terms of earthly possessions. They turn out to be the most generous and sacrificial people! It’s also a good reminder that there are different types of things we can give generously, like time and love.

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    Melodie A Haas

    I really shouldn’t amaze me when I hear a great story of someone giving their all financially and their name was Jesus! God is always showing up in the wildest manners to bless us and then bless others!

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    Gratitude and Generosity. All of these virtues come from a place of humility and sweet surrender. Are we giving of our time with expectations of something in return? Are we blessing others in need when we are struggling ourselves? Are we making those sacrifices out of love and kindness – mercy and grace?

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    Mary I love this post! I am always in awe of how generosity grows our love, joy and our blessings. I am learning to be more generous too. I have definitely learned from a good friend who has almost nothing in her life. I have never seen her where she wasn’t so free and generous with her love, prayers, blessings and encouragement. Generosity is definitely a state of our heart! Beautiful post sweet friend … ❤

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    Thank you for this reminder about what generosity truly is. In a very self-centered society, we can definitely focus on only being generous when it benefits us. That, however, is not what God requires. Sometimes we have to be generous, even when we have little to give.

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    Beautiful story! Chungo has learned at a young age what many of us never do. It truly is better to give than to receive! God knew what He was doing when He designed the human heart <3 Thank you for sharing!

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    I so enjoyed reading this, Mary! I’ve been in Guatemala now for 18 years, and I have seen the kind of generosity that Chungo showed so many times. It did to me the same thing it did to you – totally changed my perspective on generosity.

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    I grew up in a missionary household. Since it was the 80s, my parents were on the mission field without pre-determined downers. But we never went without. My parents taught me at a young age that every single thing we have is from The Lord. Having that mind set helps me be more generous. If it’s not mine to begin with, then I can pass it on to someone else.

Would love to hear your comments!