Definitions are funny things. On the one hand, they’re complete, offering the full meaning, every use, of a given word.
On the other hand, definitions leave so much out.
Take the word “generous”:
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “generous” as
- Liberal in giving
- Marked by abundance or ample proportions
- Characterized by a noble or kindly spirit
The word is rooted in the Latin word “generosus”, meaning noble or magnanimus. “Magnanimus” has its roots in the Latin words “magnus’,’ meaning great, and “animus”, meaning soul.
That’s all true, visible and accessible to anyone with an internet connection or dictionary.
But those definitions don’t truly reflect their common theme: Generosity and its roots all reflect the outward expression of your internal soul, a visible representation of your internal faith.
Generosity, your generosity – at home, at church, in your neighborhoods – is a key component of acting out the Church’s vision of Household Wells. Sustained by the Living Water, our homes should be places that connect people to life in Jesus, where we actively demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control.
Generosity is a reaching out, a giving, to others. And in reaching out, in giving God’s love for all people to all people, we spread the joy of living in Christ.
So much of connecting people to life in Jesus is rooted in generosity – with your thoughts, with your time, with your finances, with your energy.
Financial giving, yes, is part of that. The Church’s financial challenges are well-documented at this point, and the reality is that the Church needs you, each of you, to give a bit more. But you don’t have to give beyond your abilities, and please don’t give out of a sense of obligation or guilt.
The Church staff and board are simply asking you to consider how you can be a bit more generous, and then act upon the impulse God lays on your heart.
That may be financial. It may be signing up for one of the volunteering opportunities at Leopold Elementary School. Perhaps God will move you to invite your neighbors over for s’mores.
God wants you to be generous. But how He moves you to do so is between the two of you. God will bless the world through all your gifts.
An act of generosity enriches the life of both the giver and receiver, and encourages others who hear to be more generous themselves. As we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 –
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
That’s so much more than a mere definition.
Generosity can take many forms, thoughts, words, money, time, things, influence, attention.
But each act, given freely, is an opportunity to demonstrate and communicate your faith in Jesus and bring God’s kingdom to your neighborhood while making this world a more generous place.