Best of Daily Reflections: How to Become a Generous Person
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Common wisdom suggests that you will only be a generous person if you have a compassionate heart. Bountiful giving of your financial resources won’t come until your feelings incline you to generosity.
To be sure, there are people with tender hearts who give generously to charitable causes. But, in Luke 12:32-34, Jesus suggests that the path to generous living may be different from the one we assume.
The way to generosity begins with God. Jesus says, “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom” (12:32). God delights to reign over our lives and to bless us with his benefits, which include such things as material supplies, healing, peace, justice, hope, and joy. God’s own lavish grace given to us starts us on the path to generous living.
In response to God’s generosity, we are led to give to others. Jesus says: “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven!” (12:33). The imperative “give” in this verse is a form of the same verb as the infinite “to give” in the previous verse. Thus, as God gives to us, we give to others. The generosity of God stirs up generosity in us.
Notice that Jesus has not yet talked about our inner feelings or choices. This comes in verse 34: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Your heart, according to Jesus, dwells in the place you have put your treasure. Feelings of generosity, if you will, follow from generous behavior. So, the path to being a generous person in Luke 12:32-34 goes like this: God gives generously to you. You give generously to others in response. Your act of giving opens your heart, transforming you on the inside to become a generous person.
If you’re not feeling generous today, perhaps you should choose to respond to God’s grace in your life by giving to someone in need or to a kingdom cause. As you share your treasure, you just might find your heart being transformed.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What do you think helps people to be generous? Many studies have shown that, proportionately, the poor are more generous than the rich. Why would this be true? Have you ever experienced the path to generosity that Jesus describes in Luke 12? Where is your heart today, really?
PRAYER: Generous Heavenly Father, how thankful I am that you are delighted to give me your kingdom and its benefits. As a father, I can understand your joy when I think of how I like giving good gifts to my own children. Yet, to be sure, your joy far exceeds mine. Thank you for your exceptional generosity.
And thank you for the way your giving motivates me to give. You have called me to give freely what I have received from you. May I do so faithfully and generously. As I give, may my heart be transformed. Help me, Lord, to be more compassionate, more willing to sacrifice, more delighted in my giving. Help me to be more like you!
All praise be to you, generous, lavishly gracious God! Amen.