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The Generosity Journey: Staying the Course

By Michael Roo

This is the fifth blog in a five-part series. To catch up on previous blogs, you can click here.

One night, I got the last hotel room for miles around. A blizzard was blowing across central Wisconsin, and my post-Christmas drive back to college became impossible. Like everyone else on the road, I finally admitted defeat and pulled off, looking for lodging to wait out the storm. Well not everyone. Before I finally decided to give it up, I had counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 cars that had slid into the ditches on both sides of the highway. They were stuck, and who knows how long it took for help to arrive.

And that’s the thing about ditches. You can’t really drive in them, at least not very far. If you find yourself in a ditch, you are going to be stuck for a considerable amount of time as you wait for a professional to come pull you out. So as we wrap up this series on the development of generosity, I want to point out the ditches on both sides of the road toward maturity.

On the one side is the ditch of legalism. This was the ditch of the Pharisees, whom Jesus charged with tithing out of their spice cabinet while neglecting “the weightier matters of the law” (Matt. 23:23). Legalism elevates the logistics of giving - how much, how often, to whom - over the heart of giving. One of the surest ways to capsize our journey toward mature generosity is to become consumed with the “what counts” questions; or worse, to begin judging others for failing to keep up.

Of course, a knee-jerk reaction to one ditch can land us in the other: cheap grace. We might be tempted to say that God forgives and accepts us regardless of what we do with our money (He does!), and therefore we don’t have to worry about it (we do!). After all, if God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), shouldn’t I pay more attention to feeling good about giving before I worry about actually doing it?

Did you know there’s a reason the driver sits toward the center of the road? Regardless wich side of the road cars use in a given country, they all sit toward the center of the road for a reason. Here it is: if you want to stay out of the ditch, it’s actually more profitable to pay attention to the centerline. Stay in the center, and you’ll never have to worry about ending up in the ditch.

Joyful worship is the centerline of the road that leads to mature generosity. The joy of experiencing the fact that knowing Christ far surpasses anything we might gain in this world (Phil. 3:8). The joy of proclaiming that God is worthy of our first and best. The joy of being the answer to a desperate person’s prayer. The joy of being set free from self-belonging, of putting all that we are and all that we have toward the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33).

Stay on the centerline of joyful worship, and you will be protected on the journey toward mature Christian generosity.

So, are you in? Are you up for the journey of pursuing mature Christian generosity?

At Creekside, you can give three ways.
You can give electronically on our website or app. If you give in this way, please consider setting up a recurring gift and covering the service fee.
You can give by dropping your gift in the offering box on Sunday morning. The box stands near the entrance to the worship center.
You can give by mailing your gift to Creekside Community Church, 2640 NW 39th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32605. Most banks offer automated check writing through their online platforms.

I’m going to say something that will require a bit of trust on your part. I write this series not because I want something from you. I’m not trying to increase our revenue or my salary. I write this series because I want something for you. I want us all to experience the joy of living a life in worshipful obedience to our Savior. I want us all to store up treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:19). I want us all to experience the “more blessed” life (Acts 20:35). I want us to be “all in” together for the mission of loving our neighbors toward Jesus Christ.

I want to tell a better story with my stuff, and I hope you will too.