In a previous post, I wrote about cultivating spiritual growth, and subsequently, generosity. As the Holy Spirit continues to work in our lives, we will notice changes in our attitudes and beliefs about giving, such as:
- We think less about ourselves and more about others.
- When we see the needs of others, we wonder, If I don’t do something, who will?
- We discover that we find more joy in doing things for other people and for God than we ever did in doing things for ourselves.
Through these truths, we begin to embrace the larger spiritual realization and theological foundation for generosity:
Life is a gift, and everything belongs to God.
God says it this way in the Book of Leviticus: “The land is mine . . . you are but aliens and tenants” (25:23). Isn’t that interesting? We are tenants on God’s land. We are managers of God’s resources—both the natural resources of our planet and the things that we have.
In the Book of Genesis, God created Adam and Eve, put them in the midst of the garden, and said, “Now, be fruitful and multiply and oversee this planet. It’s mine, and I’m asking you to take care of it on my behalf” (Genesis 1:28, my paraphrase). We are stewards of the blessings of God, and our goal is to determine what God wants us to do with the resources we have at our disposal.
Obviously, many of our resources go to take care of our needs. Certainly God expects us to have shelter and to eat and to take care of our children. So, a large portion of what we have is to be used for those things. God also wants us to enjoy our lives, not to live in poverty. Nevertheless, God expects us to do more than focus only on ourselves.
So the Scriptures teach us that we are to help the poor and give to those in need; and when we do, we are blessed. The Scriptures also teach us that we are to return a portion of our livelihood to God.
(adapted from Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity)