3 Ways To Be More Generous

Take a second to think about the most generous people you know. How would you describe them to others? 

I think fondly about the people who come to my mind because they are so enjoyable to be around. Generosity is an attractive quality. 

Conversely, I find spending a lot of time around stingy people difficult. Think of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. His miserly ways pushed away everyone who cared about him, and his greed overwhelmed and consumed every part of him. Generosity was the key to breaking the power of greed over his life. 

Being generous is a desirable character trait and beneficial to your physical and mental health. A quick Google search will reveal that generous people have better relationships, more contentment, less stress, and lower blood pressure. Some studies even show that generous people live longer. It should not surprise us Christians that doing things God’s way is best and, in fact, the way we were intended to live. 

This past weekend, Pastor Cheryl talked about how the Gospel changes our hearts and attitudes regarding finances. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to give God our first and best. In the Old Testament, the people of God gave a 10th of their income. This is where we get the word Tithe from (literally meaning tenth). 

As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest 
to the house of the Lord your God.
– Exodus 34:26

In the New Testament, particularly in the Book of Acts, we see the early believers going way beyond a tenth. They would go as far as to sell their homes and distribute the profits to those in need. 

All the believers were united in heart and mind. 
And they felt that what they owned was not their own, 
so they shared everything they had.
– Acts 4:32

The biblical pattern for the life of a Christian should be marked by generosity. We give because it reflects the nature of God when we do so. God loves us so much that he gave His very life for us (John 3:16), and when we give, we display the nature of Christ in us. 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. 
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
– 2 Cor. 5:17

Going back to our friend Scrooge for a second gives us a great illustration of what this can look like. We see how his old nature was consumed by greed and accumulation coupled with a scarcity mindset, where he chose to live in fear of losing even a penny of his vast wealth. I think of the scene with him and Bob Cratchit on a cold day in their office on Christmas Eve. Scrooge was so concerned about money that he wouldn’t adequately heat his business. But fast forward to the end of the story, and we see Scrooge transformed into a completely new person. He is no longer a hoarder but an extravagant giver, and we see his misery turn into immense joy. This is a beautiful picture of the generosity we were created to display.

Of course, generosity isn’t limited to finances. In the late 19th century, a phrase starting with three T’s rooted in scripture became a helpful tool to help us remember what generosity looks like in our everyday lives. 

We can become the generous people God created us to be by giving our Time, Talents, and Treasure. 

Let’s take a closer look at these three areas: 

1. Giving your time

Time is the most valuable resource we have. We can’t go back; we don’t have access to a time machine, and when you take time out of your schedule to love and serve others, we display Christ’s love through our generosity. 

This could look like being attentive to your family, roommates, or neighbors without looking at your phone as they’re talking to you. It could be patiently listening to a child’s story. It could be shoveling your neighbor’s snow-covered sidewalk or taking out their garbage for them. It could also be leading a Life Group, attending prayer on a Saturday morning, or reaching out and encouraging those around you. 

We can also take the time to be generous with our words. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:4 that we should encourage each other until Jesus returns.

2. Giving Your Talents

Regardless of your stage of life, you have experience and abilities that can encourage and be a blessing to others. You can use those talents for God’s glory and build His number one project on earth, the church. This could look like joining our serve team. Every week at Coastal Church, hundreds of people give their time and use their talents and abilities to help create the best possible atmosphere for people to encounter the life-changing power of Jesus. 

It’s in God’s house that we often discover and develop our talents as we serve. There are countless singers and artists who got their start in church, myself included. Many business leaders developed and formed the skills they use daily by leading kids and youth teams. Church is one of the places where we can discover our purpose as we generously give of our time and talents.

3. Giving Your Treasure

I recently came across a staggering statistic from the Fraser Institute. In the province of British Columbia, in 2021, only 17% of those who filed taxes gave money to any charity. And that 17% gave, on average, 0.73% of their income. Not even 1%! I understand that we live in one of the most expensive areas of our nation and that all of us have felt inflation. However, this is a dismal statistic for how we, as British Columbians, financially care for others. 

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). It seems counterintuitive and perhaps foolish through the lens of secular financial advisors to give away 10% or more of your income. Yet I have found that I have always had enough, and as I have chosen to put God first in my finances, I have always had my needs met. Giving our treasure through the church demonstrates where our hearts are, while continually reminding us that everything we have belongs to God and comes from Him – our lives, talents and abilities, money, even the breath we breathe in our time here on this earth belongs to Him. 

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, 
the world, and all who live in it.
– Psalm 24:1

Let’s be known by our generosity, just as our Father in Heaven is known by His.