24 Dec GRACE AND GENEROSITY
The Christmas season is a time of Grace and Generosity. It is a time when we accept and celebrate God’s grace and generosity and it’s a time when we pass that generosity on to others. But what does that really look like?
Here’s what I’ve witnessed in my life: God’s grace is most visible when His people live with an open-handed understanding of all they have and all they are. Grace is most visible when we see ourselves as stewards of all God has given instead of seeing ourselves as the owners of “stuff.”
Let’s boil that down to the simplest possible definition: grace is made visible when we are generous. What I would like us to focus on this Christmas season is the generosity of God and how that generosity reflects in our lives.
OUR GENEROUS GOD
Colossians 1:16 tells us, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
All we have, all we are, has been given to us by our great Creator, God.
All you enjoy about life has been given to you by God.
We see the generosity of God in what we could call “common graces.” These graces are gifts to all humankind. There is nothing you enjoy that was not given by God, created by God. Think about it. We could benefit from the nourishment of our food even if it was the blandest substance on earth, but God made it taste GOOD. That is a common grace, a gift to us.
I don’t know of any scholar who is a true expert on all God has already given us. Honestly, how can one person understand the vast, never-ending generosity of our Lord? Most of us can only begin to understand the ways He has been generous to us personally!
Here is what I would pray that each of us will do today. My hope is that each of us will just take a moment to marvel at our God. At how His generosity enables each of us to share His grace through the world with our own generosity this Christmas season.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God the Father gave us the ultimate gift—Jesus. The generosity of the Father can be seen most clearly in His act of sending Jesus to us.
His generosity didn’t stop at just sending His Son. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (vv. 17-18).
I can hear you now. You’re thinking, “Yeah, but I already know this!”
Let me shake it up a little bit. Have you ever thought about the fact that God’s generosity isn’t just for those people who already believe? God is generous even to those who hate Him. He is generous to His very enemies. God sent His beloved Son not to condemn the world and those who rebel against Him, He sent Jesus to give us a way out. A second chance.
That is GENEROSITY.
THE GIFT OF THE SON
At Christmas, the act of generosity we often dwell on is the Gift of Jesus. But we also need to remember why He came.
Jesus left His kingdom in heaven, His majesty, His unending power, and His divinity to take on human flesh. This one act alone would have been enough to prove He was the most generous person to ever walk on earth.
Jesus came to be God with us. Wrap your head around that for a second. Jesus was with God in the beginning. He was God from the beginning (John 1:1). Everything was created through Him, and life and light belong to Him. Jesus then came to earth to give that light to each of us (John 1:9).
Through His generosity, Jesus gives us the right to enter His family forever. He serves as the conduit so we can become children of God (John 1:12; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 5:13). He will even allow us to reign with him (2 Timothy 2:12)!
That is GENEROSITY.
Jesus gave generously of:
- His time (John 4:6-40 – read carefully these first and last verses)
- His gifts (John 2:6-10, 14:14)
- His forgiveness (John 21:15-17)
- His provision (Matthew 14:13-21)
During His time on earth, He lived a life of pure generosity. Jesus shared with us His glory (John 17:22). Then he gave his own life for us (John 17:22, 19:30, 1 John 3:16).
Jesus GAVE his life. John 10:18 says, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Even if we spent time every day trying to understand the generosity of Jesus giving His life for us, I think it’s likely we will only barely begin to understand.
The King of kings came and died for us. This is a gift beyond measure. It is the greatest expression of generosity ever.
OUR CALL TO GENEROSITY
We were created with generosity. We are saved through generosity. We are continually blessed and bless others through generosity. We are CALLED to generosity.
Giving and generosity has always been a form of worship in the Bible. In fact, we are commanded to honor and glorify God in this way.
The Old Testament has verse after verse about bringing the firstborn of the flock, the first fruits of the harvest, and how to use the best spices, the finest flour, and the freshest oil to glorify God. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9).
In the New Testament, Jesus praises a woman for giving her last … because it was all she had (Mark 12:41-44). She was GENEROUS.
Our Lord knows the heart behind our gifts. That is why we are called to give freely! He also knows when we’re giving him something of value. God doesn’t need anything from us (Acts 17:25), but He is glorified when we open our hearts to give to Him.
When you and I give God something that costs us, we are acknowledging that everything we have comes from Him. Through our giving, we are declaring our gratitude and worshiping Him.
When we give freely, we are also showing God we trust Him. Our gift is evidence that we believe He will provide all over again
God asks us to trust Him, and He often inspires us to give more. Giving is the only arena in which God invites us to do it not so we will get more, but so we can truly understand that He has everything and wants to be generous to us.
We honor God with our gifts. We acknowledge that He has everything we need and that He has promised to take care of us. If we give something of great value, something we might be depending on, we show our love and trust that He will keep His promises!
When the Spirit leads us to worship the Lord by giving, God is glorified. Through our act of giving, we open the doors for others to know Him too. We are sharing God’s grace through our generosity!
Remember this Christmas season that the purpose of God giving you more is to fulfill your desire to be generous. He wants to increase the number of people who see Jesus because of your giving. And most of all, He wants to give each of us the opportunity to embrace thanksgiving, bringing praise to His name, and filling the hearts around us with joy.
We love you! Pastor Rich & Dr. Robyn