Keith Whitaker
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Generous.  Who comes to mind when you hear the word?  For me, it’s my mom.  She was almost generous to a fault—when I was in high school if ever my friends would leave our house without receiving a gift of sorts she would run after them slipping granola bars in their pockets, or there’s the time she gave away my GT Snow Racer to the kids down the street, but let’s not go there, it’s too painful a memory.  The dictionary defines generosity as, “showing a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected”. 

Jesus was generous.  His grace moved him beyond giving what was necessary to provide the unexpected — light instead of darkness, blessing instead of curse, life instead of death. His was a generous love that compelled a generous sacrifice for our generous inheritance.  

It’s not surprising, then, that when Jesus describes life in his Kingdom we’re given a vision of this sort of generosity.  A generosity of love, of grace, of forgiveness—even toward our enemy.  After all, isn’t that what Jesus gave us?  While we were still sinners, enemies of God, Christ died for us.  When the gospel takes root in a community, in a person, generosity grows, and it’s an astonishing kind.  

For so long churches have been talking about being generous with our time, treasure, and talents—what preacher among us can resist an alliteration!  But these days I’ve been compelled by a grander vision of Christian generosity.  And it’s a vision of Jesus: the one who was rich, that became poor, so we might participate in the riches of God.  It’s the vision of generosity that Gordon MacDonald captures when he says, ”The generous life starts when it hurts to give, when one moves in the direction of poverty in order to make someone else rich.

What would it look like to participate in God’s Kingdom with this astonishing generosity?  To be the people of God who reflect the generosity of Christ into our city?  To be generous with our love and forgiveness toward the hardest to love and forgive?  What would it look like to be generous with our welcome of the stranger, the outsider, to so-called “enemy” into the centre of our lives?  What would it look like to be generous with our faith, generous with the gospel, generous with the story of Jesus?  

Our community has been asking these kinds of questions and beautiful things have sprung to live where the Spirit moves and prompts, convicts and compels.  This vision of generosity has awoken a renewed engagement with the people and needs of our city - care teams in hospitals, sponsorship of refugees, reconciled relationships, and people coming to know Jesus.  Beautiful.  

May the Spirit of Jesus lead you to become an expression of God’s astonishing generosity to your city today.

Listen to the Generous Series Here