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Monday, December 21, 2015

Being Generous Isn’t About How Much You Give BY RICK WARREN — DECEMBER 19, Saturday

“You must decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT, second edition)
Christmas isn’t primarily about compassion. It’s about generosity. First and foremost it’s about God’s generosity toward us that was demonstrated when he gave his one and only Son so that we could have new life.
Because of this truth, as we are in the Christmas season, there’s no better attitude we can develop than generosity. Being generous isn’t about how much you give. The amount is irrelevant. It’s all about your attitude! The Bible says, “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have” (2 Corinthians 8:12 NLT, second edition).
Generosity isn’t about your wealth; it’s about your willingness — to help others, to show love to other people, and to honor God.
In 2 Corinthians 9:7, God gives us three specific characteristics of an attitude of authentic generosity: “You must decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
This kind of biblical generosity is:
  • Always thoughtful. “You must decide in your heart …” You need to think about how much you’re going to give. Don’t do it impulsively or emotionally. You make up your own mind — and you plan it.
  • Always voluntary. “Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.” Never, ever, ever give out of guilt. When you do, you don’t get credit for it, and it won’t grow your heart.
  • Always cheerful. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” The word “cheerful” in the Bible is the Greek word “hilarious.” You know the word we get from that — “hilarious.” If you can’t give hilariously, don’t. Just be a Grinch. Be a miser. Be a Scrooge. You don’t get any credit for giving unless you give to somebody cheerfully.
Be generous with your giving. Again, it’s not about the amount you give — it doesn’t have to be about money at all. You can be generous with your time or with your talents. Whatever you give, do it thoughtfully, voluntarily, and cheerfully.
Talk It Over
  • Why is your attitude important when giving?
  • Of the three characteristics of biblical generosity (thoughtful, voluntary, and cheerful), which do you find the toughest to apply? Why do you think this is so?
  • Can you tell when someone gives something to you but one or all of the elements are absent? How have you responded to that?
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