Gospel Generosity. What is that?
By itself, generosity is defined as “the quality of being kind and generous”. Some synonyms for generosity would be “liberality, openhandedness, free-handedness, unselfishness.” As an aspect of the imago Dei (the image of God), it is a virtue that can be seen in people from any background. And yet, for the Christian, the call to be generous goes deeper than just a virtue we find desirable. Because of the generosity we have received in Jesus Christ (God “did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” Romans 8:32), we of all people should live lives marked by being generous. Our generosity should be marked by cheerful sacrifice as recipients of the ultimate sacrifice, and by joyful giving as ones who have received the treasure beyond cost. This “gospel fueled” generosity is to be directed towards those closest to us, in our homes, our family within the church and towards our neighbors. This outpouring from gospel generosity is a practical and tangible way to fulfill the two greatest commandments of loving God and our neighbors.
How does generosity relate to stewardship?
Stewardship is watching over, caring for and managing resources that have been put into another’s care and oversight. Scripture makes it clear that we have been entrusted with possessions, financial resources, time, talents and gifting to use for the purpose of seeing God’s kingdom expand. Every follower of Christ has been entrusted with some mix of these items to use for His glory. Generosity refers to the way we are to manage these resources, not hoarding them for our own benefit, but to be thoughtfully, intentionally and sacrificially generous. We are to be “conduits” of God’s grace, not “cul-de-sacs”, caretakers of God’s truth and gifts of grace (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10)
Should all of my giving go to Creekside Community Church?
The answer to this is a qualified no. There are any number of places and causes that you should prayerfully consider giving to and supporting financially. But if Creekside is your home church then a significant portion of your giving should be directed to support the ministry of your church family where you invest most of your time and where others are investing in you. This is true for anyone who calls Creekside their church home, but it is especially true and important for those who are members of the church.
How much should I give?
In the Old Testament, God set forth a pattern for his people to follow of giving from their resources to both ministry and to those who were found in need. The starting point for this giving was a tithe (10%) which was to be brought as an act of worship and thanksgiving. The New Testament does not set forth a percentage, but instead calls on Christians to be generous in their giving and sets forth the example for us to follow of the sacrificial gift we given by Christ. (2 Corinthians 8:3, 9). For New Testament Christians, giving a tithe is a place to start in our regular giving to the church and to Kingdom needs.
What if I am not able to give 10%?
There will likely be times in everyone’s lives when giving will be difficult due to extenuating circumstances. Others will find sacrificial giving difficult to do because of their financial situation. If you find yourself in this position, start by taking a look at where you are financially and see where you can make adjustments to your budget and spending to enable yourself to be more generous. Set a realistic goal that is somewhere between where you are and the 10% tithe and seek to do that. Once you have met that goal, reevaluate and then take another step towards reaching the 10% mark in your giving.
How does my giving help Creekside in fulfilling its mission to Love, Grow and Reach?
It is Creekside’s vision and desire to be a church that is faithfully growing in obeying the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves, seeking to be “light and salt” (Matthew 5:13) and ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). A key element in fulfilling that mission is the financial resources we receive. Creekside is funded almost entirely through the gifts of our members and regular attenders. Your giving counts and is also greatly appreciated!
A 20-Day Study in Stewardship – To use in your daily devotions
Gospel Generosity Sermons – Listen to sermons on Gospel Generosity