Friday, December 4, 2015

Give Like Uncle Scrooge

It's the season when generosity is in focus. For those who profit from it, the focus is buy more - save more, don't forget so-and-so, do something big this year. For those who pay for it, the focus is overtime, credit limits and shopping stress. It's easy to get caught up in measuring our generosity by how much we sacrificed to give it. While that's not insignificant, it misses a more important point; generosity comes more from our heart than our wallet. The apostle Paul explained heart based giving this way, "Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given." It's the attitude, not the gift itself, that determines whether or not it is generous.

That's not an excuse to be Scrooge, but he might actually be a good roll model. When he didn't want to give, he didn't. When he did want to give, nothing could stop him. Believe it or not, scripture actually encourages that. We're told to, "give what you've decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or out of compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver." If you want to know how God feels about fake generosity, read chapter five of Acts. Lets just say he takes it deadly serious.

So now that it's perilous to give anything at all, let's look at one more side to generosity. No one knows our heart better than our Creator. And, on request, he generously helps us with it, without finding fault (or killing us). His goal is to perpetuate his own generosity through us, and that's the heart he's after. That's what he rewards. So before you buy that gift, cook that meal or give that time, check your heart and listen, even if it holds you back a little. Only true generosity is worth the sacrifice. May you generously enjoy the holidays and the ordinary days alike. "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."

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