Radical Generosity

Every now and then, I watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show. If you have never watched a full hour of her talk-variety show, two things happen during every show. Ellen dances for everyone and she ends the show with these words, “Be kind to one another.” I think one of the things that make her show successful and attractive is the generosity shown to people. It leaves the viewer feeling good. That’s because generosity is irresistible.
The idea of encouraging others to be kind to one another isn’t new. Centuries ago, Paul, a pastor of multiple churches encouraged people to do the same. One of the ways Paul encouraged people to be kind to one another was through generosity. He encouraged radical generosity. If we read a small part of one of his letters to a church in ancient Greece, we would see an example of radical generosity.
“For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they went beyond our expectations; having given themselves first of all to the Lord, they gave themselves by the will of God also to us. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” 2 Corinthians 8:3-5, 14-15
Who does that? Who gives as much as they are able, and even beyond their ability? Or who shares their extra so they don’t have too much? It is one thing to find companies to sponsor an individual or family, like several talk shows, but it’s a totally different thing to share out of your personal plenty, isn’t it?
So why am I writing about radical generosity on a devotional blog? Because I believe something is missing in our churches today that I believe is a key to revival. The people of the Macedonian churches experienced the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ had a divine influence upon their hearts. Jesus Christ is a giver. He gave his life for us. These churches gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then they gave themselves to others.
I am convinced that if we servants of Jesus follow the lead of the Macedonian churches and radical generosity break out, it would be irresistible to those outside of our faith. Everything would change. After all, we don’t see this kind of radical generosity every day. Let me end this post with a story that illustrates why I am passionate about this.
Several years ago as I traveled back to Atlanta from the country, Bolivia and after seeing great poverty during my stay there, I prayed “Why do we Americans have so much?” Although I didn’t feel like I personally had a lot in comparison to many of my friends, admittedly, I had more than I needed, I had extra. The Lord impressed his answer in my heart, “To share.”
So what if? What if the church was God’s solution to poverty in the world? Dream with me. What if every need was met by our plenty and our need was met by others plenty? Do you think others would be attracted to a community without deficits? Do you want to be a part of God’s solution? The good news is Jesus has already given you the grace to do it. We just have to give ourselves to the Lord and then to others.
Pray this prayer with me. “The Lord is my Shepherd, help me to trust you more so there will be no want. Allow me to be a part of a wave of generosity which will bring revival. I receive your grace of giving. Amen.”

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