Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Generosity and grace go hand in hand; you cannot have one without the other. Ninety percent of the time when we think of being generous, we think about giving our money. When we think about giving our money, we think about giving our first ten percent back to God. That is the beginning of generosity with our finances, but by definition going above the tithe is getting into the generosity arena. Generosity takes on different forms other than money. It can be giving of your time; it can be emotional support for someone going through a difficulty. Generosity is allowing ourselves to be inconvenienced to help someone else. Going out of our way to do something that needs to be done that no one else is going to take care of. It’s interesting if you ask any hero what they were thinking when they did the good deed they did, they say the same thing; they were in the right place at the right time and had to do what was right. True heroism is humility at it’s highest form.
I don’t want to focus on the money factor of generosity, but on the time factor. Time is always fleeting, always in motion. Time is a precious commodity. Time is a reason why we should live each day as if it were our last because we don’t know when our time is up. It’s interesting though that when we are generous with our time we find time to do other things. The same principle that is shown in the above scripture can be applied to time. My friend Lisa has invested a lot of time and energy in helping me become fit. She was paid to nurse me back to health, but she was not paid to become a great friend and encourager in my life. She does this with other people as well and then humbly wonders why generosity is given back to her. The humble attitude she displays is what our attitude should be when we think about what Jesus did for us on the cross. We should be humbled and realize the price that was paid for our grace that we receive from God. Here are some intentional ways we can be generous with our time.
First, always be flexible. “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” That is a quote by Michael McGriffy. It’s so true, if we are flexible we cannot be offended with what happens with our time. A piece of wisdom I can share on flexibility is making sure your family is on the same page as you when you’re being flexible.
Figure out ways to be generous with people. Plan your generosity. To be honest this from my very own experience, this is a way to find joy in your life. Nothing gives me more joy than to speak life into people and to strengthen peoples resolve. Taking time to build a friend up is always a goal of mine when I am around friends. It takes time though.
A third way to be intentional with our time is to be there for people. Let them know that they can rely on you if they are having a difficulty. You also have to use good judgment here and realize you can’t do it all for everyone. The Holy Spirit will help you with the ones you have to focus on and the ones you just can’t. If your spiritual gifting is mercy this can sometimes be very hard. That’s why we have to stay prayed up and in the word. The most important thing is to be spiritually healthy yourself before you can help someone else. Build yourself up first then you can build someone else up.
By being flexible, strategic, and open we can make a significant impact on peoples lives just by being generous with our time. Making the most of every moment of every day can make a difference. You may be working when you are called to say something meaningful to a coworker to build them up. That’s generosity of time and giving grace to people. That’s the unconditional love that Jesus taught us.
[David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.