Generosity is at the heart of what it means to be follower of Jesus. Jesus’ ultimate act of generosity is his giving his life for us all. This gift brings forgiveness and new life.
Following the resurrection is another gift; the gift of his Spirit. This is a promise made and kept, and is gift for the purpose of witness and to enable the growth of the church.
The Holy Spirit brings other gifts – all of which are available for use in the growth and development of the church. The church community gains much from this gift and its outworking. In Ephesians the ministry that results from the gift – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher – is for the whole body, that we might be fully what God can see us as being. We are the recipients of much generosity and this is in itself encouraging and transforming.
The history of the word ‘generosity’ links it to having a ‘noble spirt or being of noble birth’. Christian generosity could be a sign of the nobility of our rebirth in Jesus. In the gift of the Spirit our sense of who we are is transformed and the outworking of this is the transformation of our self and all that we do and stand for. The new life we are promised covers our spiritual, relational, family and material life.
To be generous is to have such a spirt affirming that that all we have is from God and is God’s. All we have is for God’s use and purpose. Sometimes it is expressed in our use of time, availability, hospitality and money. The signs of grace and personal blessing are seen in how we use these wonderful elements for the sake of others.
William Temple said, “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members”; and Bonhoeffer “The Church is the Church only when it exists for others...not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ; to exist for others.”
The church is an expression of God’s generosity and we are called to be its generous body. May God bless us all, as we are generous.