Living Generously

Posted on October 15, 2013 | 16 comments

(This is the final installment of the four-part series on generosity.)

In The Source of Generosity, we received Jesus’ teaching on generosity by looking at the Hebrew idiom of the body’s eye – either good or bad. But as we read Matthew 6:19 – 24, the discussion of the eye and the source of a generous nature is in response to where we – as disciples – are storing our treasure.

Treasure, Jesus says, can be stored on earth or in heaven.

Storing up treasure on earth I understand. In fact, I’m unintentionally very good at it. All of us have houses, garages, attics, and storage units that speak to our ability to store up earthly treasure.

In fact, Jesus gives this parable in Luke 12:15-21 as a reminder that our worth as people is not tied to what and how much stuff we have and the fruitlessness of storing up treasure on earth:

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

This is part of the freedom available to us in Christ, our value – a positive sense of self – is independent from what we have. We don’t have to protect, compete for, or compare in order to maintain our image and identity. In fact, this parable demonstrates that our false sense of wholeness that we create with our possessions can be disrupted at any moment by God.

But what about the alternative? Where does treasure in heaven come from? How are we rich toward God.

And here we get to a verse, the implications of which blow my mind. May I present to you Proverbs 19:17 –

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
    and he will reward them for what they have done.

Lending to God.

Let that sink in.

God so identifies himself with the poor, the broken, the downtrodden, the discarded, the dismissed – the least of these – that he says by being kind to them HE GOES INTO OUR DEBT.

He feels that he owes us for our kindness.

Maybe it is because these are the people open to abandoning the search for wholeness apart from God.

Maybe it is because these are the people who will see the kindness as the light coming from our body (the good eye).

But this is our treasure in heaven.

God repaying the debt that he feels like he owes because of our loving-kindness.

Not kindness that supports our false self. Not kindness that we do to be seen by others. That type of kindness has received its reward.

This is kindness that comes from a self that is rooted in Christ. That expects nothing in return.

This is living generously.

Who are the ‘least of these’ you have most recently been kind to?

Click here for part 1 of the series – The Source of Generosity

Click here for part 2 of the series – My Daughter’s Good Eye and the Pig

Click here for part 3 of the series – Competition for our Generosity

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16 Comments

  1. Thought provoking! Some days I wonder if there is any generosity left in the world. And then someone does something unexpected and restores my faith in humanity! I’m writing a series on intentional living and I think in such a self-centered culture, we need to be more intentional about seeking opportunities for kindness and generosity. The hardest part then, is keeping our motives rooted in Christ, as you have said.

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    http://www.ahearteninglife.com

  2. This verse on Proverbs has always been one of my favorites and a principle I live by. My late father used to teach us this not through words, but through being an example. He used to say that a coffin does not have pockets! I cannot begin to tell you how God has provided for us all through these years. And that has strengthens my children’s faith to such an extent that they both follow Jesus and are being kind to the poor with the little they have as university students.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  3. Scott, thank you for reminding us to extend ourselves to “the least of these.” I am stopping by from MissionalWomen.Com today. We were blessed to link up after you over at Titus 2 Tuesday.

  4. A heart that is full of thanksgiving and gratitude is one that can also be a generous one. Jesus said, he who has been forgiven much – – loves much. This series is so needed and I do thank you for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

  5. “But this is our treasure in heaven. God repaying the debt that he feels like he owes because of our loving-kindness.”

    Wow… that one will sit with me for a bit! Living an intentional life is so vital… staying in tune and being open and willing to follow His lead and to be kind – on purpose… it can make all the difference in someones’ day… in someones’ life!

    Love this!

  6. storing up treasures on earth, this is what got my attention…my husband and I are cleaning up all of those stored treasures getting ready for a mission adventure that God is sending us on to live in a one room living space with only a bathroom and whatever kind of makeshift kitchen that we can come up with…it doesn’t take very long to start storing up those treasures again…visiting from Winsome Wednesday…enjoyed your post

  7. It’s interesting the wording you chose when you reflected your treasures on earth–you said, you’re “unintentionally” good at storing them up. I think I’ve done a lot of that too. But this challenges me greatly to give to the poor, Scott. because I don’t think I do that intentionally either–at least not enough. Thanks for the gentle nudge. It’s one I’m going to work on intentionally today!

  8. As always, you give me a lot to think about.

  9. Thanks for this post…. I’m glad I found your site…I will be back for more words of wisdom from THE WORD!

  10. Great post, thanks so much for sharing

    I have a giveaway going on, would love for you to check it out!
    http://thediaryofarealhousewife.blogspot.com

  11. Thanks for such a thought-provoking post. We miss out on so much when we live out self-guided lives instead of Spirit guided lives, don’t we? Doing it our way leads to cluttered excess. Doing it His way leads to a peaceful, loving and generous life. Oh, that we would be intentional about keeping our focus on Him.

    Thanks for linking up to Through The Lens Thursday.

  12. I have always been struck by how the most generous people are the ones who have the least, materially, to give. Living closer to the edge, I think, makes us realize how precious life is, and how the harder we grasp at it, the more it tries to slip away.

  13. What a lovely post. It is always good to be reminded of the true meaning of living a generous life. Thank you for sharing on the Four Seasons Blog Hop.

  14. Great post! Storing up a treasures here is so easy and can take so much of our focus off the real treasure we are lacking! Good reminder!

  15. Great challenge to be generous here. Generosity needs us to be purposeful and intentional.
    Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions & Connect With God

  16. wow good points. “rooted in Christ” always brings out the best results.

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