Be generous… seriously? So I must give of the little I have to others? That begins to sound like ‘works based faith’ to me. If I give a bit of myself to everything and everyone surely there’ll be nothing of me left? Surely I’ll eventually run out or run thin and burn out?
If any of you are like me, you’ll remember small bits from your childhood but not the bigger picture. I remember the ending of a story the one Friday night sitting in AWANA youth group at church where the man speaking said, “To whom much has been given, much more will be expected”. This verse is found in Luke 12:48
I sat there, slightly puzzled by the concept and being the very well thought out 10-year-old I was, I immediately gave my juice, biscuit and bible bookmark to my friend next to me. The way I interpreted those words was that “the less you have the less work you’ll be asked to do” so, I gave all I had in the moment away.
You see, I had a warped sense of what leadership was about and how we as leaders in various forms are meant to lead others with what we have.
Since I was 13, I have had the blessing of serving in my local church for 11 years in various capacities. I have been given the chance to help, lead, train and serve alongside other Godly men and women, boys and girls to see the kingdom of God furthered.
When confronted by the word “generous” we are forced into a corner as Christians. We are forced to encounter our own beliefs that usually sit in one of two camps, namely:
I believe I AM generous and I believe I am NOT generous
The topic of generosity as we seek to serve in many ways can be represented in a completely misleading way. Nowadays there tends to be a culture of 10% of the people do 90% of the work and the same goes for ministry. There seems to be a very relaxed view of, ‘someone will get it done’ amongst us as Christians.
There also seems to be a sense that those not serving actually don’t understand what we give and go through in the various ways we’re involved…
Now this, this won’t be a popular view or even the view I expect others to take but the way I see generosity is the same way I see service. We are to serve, not be served. Finished. Done. No questions asked.
If we as Christians become the type of people to rely on someone else to do something in order for us to do something then we have missed the point of the gospel, completely.
Take Jesus, the perfect example of biblical generosity as well as every other biblical trait mentioned. Not once do we see Jesus having his involvement in his ministry here on earth hang in the balance because one of the disciples wasn’t performing as needed.
On the contrary, Jesus took others downfalls as an opportunity to witness to and serve them best to teach, in love what it means to be a sincere whole hearted follower of Christ.
Biblical generosity really comes down to and is completed by the example of Jesus on the cross. Why do I serve in ministry in my church? Jesus. Why do I love others when they don’t love me? Jesus. Why do I give up my time to work with others? Jesus. Why do I put myself last and others first? Jesus.
It took me years to see that Luke 12:48 verse (“To whom much has been given, much more will be expected”) as it was written. We as Christians have been given so so much… it’s heart breaking to think about our saviour on the cross for me. But, in response for what Jesus has done in my life, I will serve! It’s heart breaking to think of the times when I’ve let my parents down, but in response to what Jesus has done, I will try do better. It’s heart breaking to think of the sin still lingering in my life holding me down, but because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross I will pray earnestly, seek his wisdom and strength and ask for forgiveness for the sin that draws me away from Him.
“A man there was, tho’ some did count him mad, / The more he cast away the more he had.” When we give, we empty ourselves in order to be filled again by God. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
~ Kyle Tamblyn, Guest Author for The Heart of Teens