In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis explains an aspect of the Christian faith by comparing it to receiving and giving a gift. The first ‘discovery of faith’ as Lewis puts it, is to understand that there is no way that we can earn our way to God. There’s no exam that we need to take or pass with a certain percentage. It’s simply a gift that we can choose to accept or reject. We know this from scripture:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
The second discovery that C.S. Lewis points out is that when you accept the gift of salvation, there is a realization that “every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God.” Even if we were to spend every waking minute of our life devoted to serving God, we couldn’t possibly give Him anything that wasn’t already His own already. I like how C.S. Lewis explains this point with a brief story:
So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, ‘Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.’ Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.
There is no way that we can ever give God more than he’s given to us.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. – Romans 11:36 NIV
That’s the beauty of grace. We haven’t earned anything, yet God has blessed us with all that we have. If we really want to be challenged in our giving, we should strive to imitate Christ’s generosity. There’s no grading scale or minimum score here. Giving like Christ is something that is ongoing and isn’t measured by a certain dollar amount or hours. So how do we even begin to live a more generous life? Three keys come to mind that can help us with the initial steps of integrating giving into our lives.
>Recognize The Source
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that all things come from God. When we constantly remind ourselves to give thanks and acknowledge where our resources come from, we can start to grasp the concept of a generous lifestyle. Recognizing the source of our resources will naturally cultivate a thankful heart and can lead us to giving more than we could ever imagine.
>Understand The Purpose Behind Your Gift
If you’re already giving to your church, missions, or other causes, you probably have an understanding of the purpose behind your gift. Knowing why your gift makes a difference can help to spur ongoing generosity.
>Catch The Vision And Plan For The Gift
If you’re passionate about the mission behind your gift, you’re more likely to continue supporting it with your resources. If your vision is to see missionaries share the gospel in third world countries, your gift to those groups will become more of a priority in your life. Actively setting aside money each month (budgeting for the gift) will help you to cultivate generosity.
In what ways have you been challenged to be more generous?
How do you cultivate generosity in your own life?
Tim Blogs at: http://christianpf.com/author/tim/