The season of giving is here. We shop, we wrap, we bake, we give. It’s a wonderful time to be generous with those we love and even a few strangers.
Scripture extols the virtue of generosity. The book of wisdom tells us “the godly love to give” (Proverbs 21:26). While the act of gift-giving is an obvious expression, there are many more ways to give generously throughout the year.
“Time is money,” Benjamin Franklin once wrote. The sentiment predates him by centuries, but the idea that our time has value means that we can be generous with our time in ways that rival finances. Spending time with loved ones is priceless. When we realize the value of these moments, we will spend them wisely, investing in them encouragement, comfort, joy, and love.
Giving of ourselves in service to others, whether by volunteering at church, taking meals to someone in need, helping at work when it’s not our responsibility, or a myriad of other ways, is a gift. The fact that we would spend hours doing something that benefits others when we could be taking that time for ourselves tells them that they are important and valuable.
Often the giving of time also involves giving our talents. Each of us have been given gifts and abilities by our Creator. We use these to provide for ourselves and family, but we can also use them to bless others. This, too, is an act of generosity.
“Giving a gift can open doors” (Proverbs 18:16). There are many ways that an act of generosity can create an opportunity for relationship or ministry. I’ve seen someone give a waiter a shockingly large tip, then watched that waiter open up about his financial difficulties and family struggles, which allowed a time of ministry and prayer that doesn’t normally happen in restaurants. I’ve witnessed a teenager volunteer to take care of the lawn of a couple who had spent several weeks going back and forth from the hospital with a family member who was suffering. That led to more opportunities for other neighbors to step in and help during their time of need. The community grew closer and stronger. Our ministry gives food and water to people in need around the world. In the majority of those places, we gain the trust to share the Gospel openly. (By the way, Proverbs also says, “Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor” (22:9). LIFE is in the middle of our Mission Feeding campaign, where hundreds of thousands of children are given life-saving emergency food every month. I hope you’ll join us in this act of generosity.)
Paul instructed the early church “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…” (1 Timothy 6:18). Generosity was designed to be less an act of charity and more an act of church. The world needs to feel the impact of God’s people and this can happen when we generously give our time, talent, and treasure.
Generosity also benefits the giver because it unlocks the blessings of heaven. “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). Giving reflects the very character of God. “For God so loved the world, he gave…” There is no better model than that! Emulating Him invites the richness of the Holy Spirit, who pours out Himself on us to satisfy our souls.
During this season, establish or continue a pattern of generosity that becomes a lifetime habit. In doing so, you will bless others, find refreshment for yourself, and glorify God in your good works.