What’s your favorite pie? Mine is chocolate pie. I typically don’t like pie, but chocolate silk pie I will eat all day. Growing up in a mid-west farming church that loved potlucks there was always pie a the end of the line. What was funny is that people typically didn’t go back to the table eat and then go back to the dessert table. They would carry their plate of food in one hand, their drink of lemonade in the other hand then balance the desert on their arm as they went back to their table to eat. Why would they do this? Well, of course, they were afraid there wouldn’t be any pie left if they didn’t grab it now. Too often we look at the resources in our lives like pie at the end of a potluck table, and think, “there just isn’t enough.”
In Western culture, we have been conditioned to believe in scarcity. We have been told that there isn’t enough for everyone. Therefore, we build our barns bigger, we gather greater, and we hoard resources because we believe that we need more things to survive. Though this might be true of some things, like pie, it is not true in the Kingdom of God. God’s provision in our lives was never intended for our comfort or to be hoarded. It was intended to grow our faith, to take the next faith step, to risk more, to keep us going, and to expand the Kingdom of God into the lives of others by giving generously.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously…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.” – II Corinthians 9:6,8
This is not a prosperity Gospel. This is the Good News of Jesus! We can trust Him with our resources so much so that we can give it away, trusting that the love and generosity to others, especially the poor (see vs. 10) is generative, it doesn’t run out, it keeps coming back abundantly. We may not receive the same gift back that we gave, but we can trust that our needs will be provided. We may not have more after we give it away, but we can trust that we will have enough.
Being Generous can be Messy
Being generous may not be giving financially, sometimes the most generous thing we can do is invite people over to our house for dinner, people who look different than us, believe differently than us, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Inviting people to dinner is not always nice and neat. People might use words that are inappropriate, there might be a stain on the carpet after they leave, or they might eat all the pie! Jesus knows what kind of a mess can happen if we invite people over.
The beginning of Mark 2 is the story of Jesus healing a man who was paralyzed. Mark writes that “people heard he (Jesus) had come home.” So Jesus hosted a large group of people in his house to teach. Chances are these people were not from the upper class of society or even the nice and neat people. We know that Jesus hung out with those on the underside of life, those who were sick, and “dirty”. As Jesus is speaking, debris begins falling from the ceiling, it begins to get dusty and the next thing you know there is a large hole in Jesus’ roof! Then a man who was paralyzed was lowered down next to Jesus to be healed and Jesus heals him.
Generosity is not always neat, but it is needed in this world of scarcity and selfishness. There are people out there in need and God has called us to be generous with our resources of time, money, houses, meals, and relationships. When we are generous in the Kingdom of God, we will always have enough.
Generosity is a value of the Kingdom because God is a generous God.