The Trumpet Sounds: ‘Generosity?’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Writer

This week at South Side I’ll be sharing a message about how gratitude always results in generosity. We live in a society that loves it when others are generous, but how about when it comes time for us to be generous? If we really understood how good things happen to those who are generous, we might all be a little more generous to others.

God often uses others as a means to bless people, and so it is with believer’s who know enough to help when they see the need, but something more happens…sometimes later, or sometimes sooner…the person who gives is blessed. It may not be financial blessings but maybe a new relationship, a new opportunity, or some other blessing that comes unexpectedly. Solomon writes about this subject, saying that “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want” (Prov 11:24). The one who holds tight to what they have cannot receive back from God. Only open hands can give and only open hands can receive. This means that “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Prov 11:25). Many I know are blessed by giving to others, but they don’t give just so they can get more. They understand that, “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor” (Prov 22:9), and “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed” (Prov 19:17). When you see the generosity of others, you can see for yourself that “Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse” (Prov 28:27). You reap what you sow…but you also reap according to how much you sow.

There is no excuse for the Christian to neglect his or her immediate family. Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul wrote that “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim 5:8). The Bible clearly teaches us to “look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4). If we ignore the needs of our brothers and sisters, it is just like neglecting Jesus Christ because they’re part of the Body of Christ. What affects them affects Him. The Apostle John wrote that “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him” (1 John 3:17)? That’s a great question. Love is a verb. It’s what you do, and if we fail to do anything, especially if we have the means, then to us…it is sin. Jesus said that “when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” (Luke 14:13), but don’t’ do it so you can get paid back later. Those who have little no nothing are probably not going to be able to pay us back, and besides, we don’t give in order to get. Jesus said if you give, just for the benefit of helping others, “you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14).

The Old Testament laws made provisions for the poor of the land. God knew that there would always be poor in the land. The Scripture says as much: “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land” (Deut 15:7). God wanted the Israelites, and I would imagine He wants us to remember where everything we have comes from. The Apostle Paul wrote, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it” (1 Cor 4:7), therefore, “You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deut 8:18).

Generosity is contagious. When you help someone, they might help someone too, and thus, it keeps paying it forward. Like ripples on a pond, our generosity extends beyond what we can even see, and like ripples, they return again to us in some other way. There is no doubt that God blesses those who bless others. When it comes down to it, Jesus says we must “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). This Sunday at South Side we will continue our sermon series entitled “I.D.” Be sure to come out before worship and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee at Café Connect. We have classes for all ages of children. Worship begins at 10:45, and we would love to see you there!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Minister

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Writer