A Generous Life

June 20th, 2013

Christian life at its best is marked by generosity. Followers of Jesus should be eager to serve. They should abound in char­ity, love, hope, and faith. Christians should be like their Master. Jesus himself said in Luke 6:40, "Disciples aren't greater than their teacher, but whoever is fully prepared will be like their teacher." Those committed to Christ are called to be like Christ. They are called to live a generous life.

Often, when we think of generosity our first association is financial giving. Christian generosity certainly includes financial giving as a key feature but also transcends it, reaching beyond provision of funds for the poor and for worthy causes, and tak­ing hold of every aspect of our character. But again, as Jesus says, we must be "fully prepared" to be like our teacher. Gen­erosity is a virtue that must be learned. Even those of us who are naturally inclined to give can grow in this grace through the contemplation and application of Christian truth.

If you desire to lead a generous life, recognize that there is a deep need for transformation. Sin must be put to death, and grace must be put on display. God must enact change in you, and you must be willing to receive God's loving discipline. Your kingdom must be subsumed within Christ's Kingdom. There must be a new rule, and a new Lord. Everything you have is no longer yours but has been bought with a price. Through Christ, you have been freed from sin and made alive to God, to be used for his purposes in the world.

My friend and mentor, James Bryan Smith, powerfully describes the implications of this transformation writing:

"Our little kingdoms are not our own. We are stewards of God's gifts; everything belongs to God. That changes everything. No longer can I say, "What is mine is mine to do with what I please." Instead, "What is mine is not really mine, but God's," and therefore I must ask, "How shall I use the gifts you have given me?" This fundamental shift affects all our daily decisions."

Once the deep realization of Christ's Lordship takes hold in your life, generosity will ensue. How you use your gifts, talents, finances, time, and more will be recast in a new light. And once you truly begin to see the scope and power of Christ's calling, you will be changed.

excerpt from: Committed to Christ: 40 Devotions for a Generous Life by Ben Simpson Copyright©2012 by Abingdon Press. Used with permission.

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