Generosity: The Secret to Breaking Wealth’s Grip (Luke 10:38-42; 14:12-14; 24:13-15)
This suggests that God’s secret weapon is generosity. If by God’s power you can be generous, wealth begins to lose its grip on you. We have already seen how deeply generosity worked in the heart of the poor widow. It is much harder for the rich to be generous, but Jesus teaches how generosity might be possible for them too. One crucial path to generosity is to give to people who are too poor to pay you back.
Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or relatives or your rich neighbors in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:12-14)
Buddy Roybal is founder of Coronado Paint & Decorating located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Employees are given time off and are paid to do volunteer work in the community.
Generosity that earns favors in return is not generosity but favor-buying. Real generosity is giving when no payback is possible, and this is what is rewarded in eternity. Of course, the reward in heaven could be taken as a kind of delayed gratification rather than true generosity: you give because you expect to be paid back at the resurrection, rather than during earthly life. This seems like a wiser sort of favor-buying, but favor-buying nonetheless. Jesus’ words do not rule out interpreting generosity as eternal favor-buying, but there is a deeper, more satisfying interpretation. True generosity — the kind that doesn’t expect to be paid back in this life or the next — breaks wealth’s God-displacing grip. When you give away money, money releases its grip on you, but only if you put the money permanently beyond your reach. This is a psychological reality, as well as a material and spiritual one. Generosity allows room for God to be your God again, and this leads to the true reward of the resurrection — eternal life with God.