Summary: This sermon gives five ways to build Generosity. 1. Respond to NEEDS. 2. Respond with COMPASSION. 3. Respond with PRACTICAL help. 4. Respond with FOLLOW UP help. 5. Model Your MAKER.
Quality Characteristics – Generosity
Let us begin this morning by reading our text. It is found in Luke chapter ten:
"Who is my neighbor?" Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ’Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:30-37 (NKJV)
In our text today a man – a lawyer – asks Jesus, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responds by asking the lawyer a question, “What is written in the law?” What a great question to ask a lawyer – what is written in the law? The lawyer obviously knows the scripture for he answers, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and you shall love ’your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus commends the lawyer for he has answered the question correctly. But the conversation does not end there.
The lawyer wants more. In fact the Bible says he wanted to justify himself so he asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ reply is the story of the Good Samaritan which we just read.
Did you know that in the story of the Good Samaritan there are three distinct attitudes toward life found there? Follow along with me here:
The first attitude that we find is that of the robber. He had the attitude that:
I. What’s yours is MINE.
He had the attitude that as long as he was the bully on the block – he could take whatever he wanted. He had an overpowering attitude.
The second attitude that we find is that of the Levite and the Priest. Both of them had the attitude that:
II. What’s mine is MINE.
Both had the attitude that since I earned it – or since I have it – it all belongs to me – and if I’m not willing to give it to you I have every right to keep it. We would call this attitude stinginess.
The third attitude that we find is that of the Samaritan. He had the attitude that:
III. What’s mine is YOURS.
He was willing to use what he had for the good of others. He was willing to share his abilities, his time and his resources for the good of others. He had the attitude of generosity. He was generous.
Today we are going to look at five keys to becoming a generous person.
The first key is:
1. Respond to the NEEDS around you.
Folks you don’t have to go very far to find people in need – they are all around you. Look at the story of the Good Samaritan again – notice that it says – “as he journeyed… he saw him”. What this means is that – as he was going about his daily business – as he was traveling along – as he was passing by – he ran across someone in need. Someone who is beat up – beat down – left on the side of the road like a piece of garbage – useless – worthless – meaningless. But not to the Good Samaritan.
His eyes are open – he sees the man lying on the side of the road – he sees that there is pain – he sees that there is suffering – he sees that there is a need – and he responds. Even in the busyness of his day – even as he journeyed alone – even though he had other plans – he stopped.
Had no one else seem the man by the side of the road? Didn’t others look his way? Of course they did – the story says that both a Levite and a Priest saw him – looked at him – they stared at him – they moved out of the way – passed on the other side of the road – because of him. But not the Samaritan. He saw – he responded.