I think most people want to be generous, they just can't. They are in debt, strapped, stressed, worried, and wondering how they will make ends meet. They get their paycheck and it seems like it's gone before they blink an eye. Or they have worked very hard to be comfortable and giving may compromise what they have worked so hard to reach - a secure position in life. Or some are wealthy and their thought is simply how to protect their wealth. In any case, the reason they can't be generous is different, but they truly believe they can't. However, I am hopeful that deep down people want to be generous. Why? Because I believe every person is made in God's image and God is generous.
Which leads me to my next thought, I am not sure why anyone would be generous if they really didn't believe their was more to life than possessions and security. As we learned Sunday, Jesus addressed this topic by telling a story about a rich man ...
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:6-21 (NIV)
Jesus consistently taught this principle, you only get to keep what you give away. If you want to keep your life, lose it. If you want to lose your life, keep it. This story illustrates the WHY behind the principle. This life is not all there is, there is another realm unseen. This unseen realm is just as real as Wall Street. The difference is whatever we invest in the seen realm ends when we die, but whatever we invest in the unseen realm never ends.
I think the the first step in finding freedom from greed is to believe generosity is something God wants for you and not from you. God does not want you to die and see all you invested in die with you. Just to opposite, when you die, God wants you to see how all you invested in lives on in eternity.
So, like anything else we get good at, we must practice generosity. Practice giving time, love, a smile, a thank you, finances, talents, wisdom, encouragement, a listening ear, or whatever else you may have to give. Be generous! And over time you will see the most attractive economic principle there is; you only get to keep what you give away.
Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV)
"Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share."
“Father, I thank you for how generous you have been to me (name all the things God has given to you). Thank you for giving me Your Son. If I didn't have Jesus, I would not know You. I pray my heart would desire to do good. I want to be rich in good deeds. Father, help me to be aware and see how I could do good for others today. Father, help me to be aware and see how I could be generous and willing to share today. I want to give my life away, I want to live a life like Jesus, a life that helped others and was a blessing to all. I pray against the spirit of greed. I truly believe if I seek your Kingdom first, you will provide for all of my needs because God, you are generous. Help me to believe in the unseen and realize you work through generosity in ways I will never understand. Give me a joy about giving and give me faith to trust You in this area of life. I want freedom from the abundance of possessions. Redeem my life and make me a more generous person. In Jesus' Name, Amen.”