Living Generously

I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. –Genesis 12:2-3

In today’s Scripture, we read that God makes an astounding statement to the patriarch Abraham. God lays upon Abraham an incredible blessing. Yet, with the blessing also came a tremendous responsibility.

Perhaps we’ve been trained to see the word “blessing” and automatically think of it as being directed toward our personal being. God “blesses” and we receive the “blessing.”

Yet, if we look more closely at what God says to Abraham, it quickly becomes apparent that blessings are always something to be given away. We have not been blessed in order to enjoy them for ourselves, as if we were hoarding the last piece of birthday cake long after the party is over. No, in fact we have been blessed in order to be a blessing.

Take a quick look at Genesis 12:2-3 once again. Notice that only once does God tell Abraham that He will bless him, while three times God tells Abraham that others will be blessed through him. God does not bless us in order for us to feel good about ourselves or merely because He wants us to enjoy His blessings for ourselves. This misses the point completely. God blesses us so that we in turn can bless others.

In other words, to live generously is to fully live in tune with the heart of God. Receive, so that you can give. Live generously, because this is the way God lives.

Apparently, living generously has a far greater impact than we might ever know. When we choose to live generously — giving, loving, blessing, encouraging, lending, and mending that which is broken — we leave a legacy for the next generation. When we model generosity, we instill in the next generation that generosity is a value to be embraced. As we are a blessing to others, our children see this value and will more readily embrace it as their own. We ensure that the cycle of blessing continues.

In a society that far too often is absorbed, in self-advancement, self-promotion, even self-blessing — what kind of legacy are we leaving for the next generation? Is it one that is saturated in self, or is it one that sees the blessing of others as central to the message of God?

You have been blessed. Now it’s your turn.

1. What would it look like for us to live generously? What would we value? How might that change the way we live?

2. What are some ways in which you can live generously this week?

Psalm 37:25-26, 112:5-9; Matthew 6:19-24, 25:31-46; Luke 21:1-4

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Mike DeVries

Mike DeVries is a husband, father and a veteran pastor and youth pastor. He is an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University in the School of Theology.

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