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5 Steps to Cultivating a Generous Heart
What is a Generous Heart?
Generosity is defined as "the quality of being kind and understanding, and not selfish." A genuinely generous heart is anchored in the love of God. He pours his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5), giving us the ability to be truly generous. A generous heart is a lifestyle that permeates every area of our lives; freely we have received and freely we give.
As we receive God's lavish love, we can freely and generously give to others. We can't give what we don't have. So generosity comes from what is stored up in our hearts including love, gratitude, and joy. Thus the following verse explains that:
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart ..." (Luke 6:35, NIV).
Generosity is giving from the heart; it is giving of ourselves through our demonstration of love, compassion and kindness. It is more than our material possessions, it involves sharing our God-given gifts and talents. So we need to become intentional in our giving or we might miss opportunities to be generous.
Pastor Che Ahn, i his book "The Grace of Giving: Unleashing the Power of a Generous Heart." explains that God desires his children to prosper materially . He wants us to trust his grace to supply all our needs as we seek to reflect "his giving, blessing image."
Genuine generosity radiates from lives that are blessed. Being generous not just brings joy to those who are the recipients of generosity but also to the givers. Spend some time and meditate on what the Bible says about generosity in the verses below and get a picture of true generosity.
What the Bible Says About Generosity
Many Scriptures in the Bible describe what it means to be generous and how it impacts us and others. Here are a few verses to meditate on:
- One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:24, 25, NIV).
- You must each 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).
- And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
- You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 219:11, NIV).
- God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Hebrews 6:10, NIV).
- Blessed is he that considers the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble (Psalm 41:1, NKJ).
The author lays the foundation for giving and displaying a generous heart. This starts with a clear vision our original design in the image of God which has not changed. Our Father, God, is a giver and he desires his children to discover the power of a generous heart. As we trust God's grace to provide for our needs, we must reflect his "giving, blessing image."
Dearest Lord, Teach me to Be Generous
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others— 2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT
Reflections on Generosity: 5 Easy Steps
God expressed the greatest generosity of all when he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place. The Bible states that, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:15, ESV).
As believers, our response should be to demonstrate our love for God and others. One way to express this love is through generosity, that is, giving of ourselves, time, talents, words of affirmation and encouragement and material possessions.
Here are five steps we can take cultivate a generous heart:
- Recognize how much you have received. You can only give what you have. Ask God for a revelation of the depth of his love for you and how much he has given you. As you come into an understanding God's graciousness towards you, this will empowers you to cultivate a generous heart and to give freely.
- Give from the heart. Giving should never be for show, but from a heart of love and compassion. Jesus responded to the multitudes in the Gospels by healing their diseases and feeding them through his love and compassion for them.
- Move from discontent to a heart of gratitude. It is so easy to feel sorry for ourselves when we face life's challenges. But we can chose to respond to such situations with bitterness or with a heart of gratitude to God's goodness and reach out and touch the lives people around us in special ways.
- Look for opportunities to be generous. As you look around, you will find opportunities to use our time and talents to serve others. But be sure to ask God for guidance and wisdom in whatever we do. The Holy Spirit will guide into us all truth (John 16:13), he will show us how to express love and generosity in specific ways
- Commit to Biblical stewardship. If we believe that God owns everything, including our money and time, then we will be less tempted to hold on to what we have, and more likely to be generous. It is important for us to accept that we are not the owners of the things we possess and so strive to be responsible managers.
Poll: How Generous are You?
Do you consider yourself as having a generous heart? I am ...
Prayer for a Generous Heart
Heavenly Father, thank you for your great heart of generosity towards me. You gave your Son to die for me. Thank you that your love is poured in my heart by the Holy Spirit so that I can be generous at all times. Today, I make a fresh commitment to respond to others with generosity of heart. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Moving Forward Generously
God is generous and as his children we reflect his heart of generosity. He owns everything, and he gives us health and faculty to work, not just for ourselves, but for others.
Let us give cheerfully and generously knowing that we will never be poorer for doing so. Instead, we will live with a sense of God's abundance in our lives every day. Daily we freely receive of God's bountiful blessings, so freely we give and experience the joy of true generosity. The world is waiting for our love and kindness.