Recently I was listening to a sermon by Matt Chandler, lead pastor at The Village Church in Texas. He was talking about God’s heart and passion for the poor, orphaned, weak and challenged and what our response should be towards them.
Chandler was challenging his church to be generous towards people whom God has such a deep concern for and asked the question, “why aren’t we more generous as Christians?”. In reality, we should be the most generous people of all because of how compassionate God is toward us through Jesus.
If I am really honest with myself I go back and forth between generosity and stinginess with my money, my time and my talents. I find it difficult many times to be missionally minded with the gifts God has given me.
So what prevents us as Christians from being more generous? What follows is my non-exhaustive list of what I’ll call generosity killers:
Liabilities have a way of choking out generosity because our additional resources are going towards paying off debt. So many Christians are paying ridiculous amounts of interest on stuff they thought they needed. Many of those items will end up in a landfill in a few short years. We are far to easily amused by gadgets and other items that we’ll plunge ourselves into massive debt in search of joy.
What if we as Christians decided to simplify our lifestyles and live debt free. Imagine how generous we could be towards those who are poor and underpriveliged.
Jesus said to “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15). Greed leads to a mindset of getting rather than giving. “Just a little more” is how John D. Rockefeller famously answered the question “how much money is enough”. Greed is blinding, and most of us probably feel we are doing a good job managing this sin, which is why we should pay careful attention to Jesus’ words and “watch out”.
Proverbs 23:6-7 says, “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”
A penny-pinching person is constantly calculating every last cent to make sure no one gets more than they should. Notice the verse says that a stingy person’s heart is not with you. He does not have a generous heart.
Busy lifestyles can rob us of opportunities to be generous. It seems especially true in America where we numb ourselves with self-centered activities, hobbies, and endeavors and give little regard to our neighbors let alone the poor, weak and powerless.
Lack of Compassion
A person who is merciless and lacks compassion will not be generous. How many times do people see a homeless person and assume they would use any money given to them for drugs or alcohol and so they keep on walking.
God has a heart for the weak, the underprivileged, the orphaned, the widowed, the powerless and the poor and we should too.
So what are your thoughts? Are there any other generosity killers that you would add to this list?