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Whole-Life Generosity

By Michael Roop

This is the conclusion of a four-part series on generosity. To catch up on the rest of the series, click here.

God owns everything at our disposal. Whole-life generosity is grounded in this truth, which leads us to give our first and best, and to prioritize the local church, which is God’s “plan A” for the spread of the gospel. I started this series by saying that generosity is about more than our money; it’s a lifestyle, a posture to inhabit. So as we conclude our series on generosity, let’s look at three main areas of our life and consider how we might take on a posture of generosity.

Giving Our Time
Just like our material possessions, God owns our time because He is the author of our time. Moses famously acknowledges this truth when he prays, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Wisdom is found in acknowledging the finite and predetermined time we have on this earth. So what does it look like to give our first and best time to God? What does it mean to prioritize the local church with our time? In our cultural moment, a simple step is prioritizing regular church attendance. We give the first part of the first day of the week to gathering with God’s people to rehearse corporately the good news of the gospel.

Giving Our Talent
God has also gifted His people with various talents. Paul puts it this way: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit...To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:4, 7). He goes on to describe the church as a body with different members, each needing the others, and each as important as the others, all under the headship of Christ. So what has God made you good at? What are you passionate about? How can the best of that gift be used to build up the church? The posture of whole-life generosity is constantly looking for answers to these questions.

Giving Our Treasure
Finally, we acknowledge that God has given us all the material possessions at our disposal to steward for His glory. We recognize this truth by giving our first and best, which means determining a first percentage of our income to give back to the church (rather than giving any “leftovers” once everything else is paid for). There is biblical precedent for 10%, but since the Old Testament actually commands three separate tithes (Num. 18:21-24; Deut. 14:22-29), we aren’t bound to that specific number. The point is that we set aside the first and best portion for God before we live on the rest. So pick a percentage today, and as your capacity grows, grow the percentage along with it.

Wrapping Up: Generosity Sunday
It is more blessed to give than to receive. We believe it, and we are in pursuit of the happier life promised to the generous. This Sunday, we’ll literally put our money where our mouth is. Each year, we take the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the official start of the holiday shopping season (irony, anyone?), to demonstrate our trust in God’s design by giving away our offering. Everything placed in our offering box, given online, or given via the app with Sunday’s timestamp will go right back out of our doors. And I have to admit, it’s one of my favorite Sundays of the year.

Who could have guessed?

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