Summary: Generosity simply means giving readily to others. I think we all grasp the basic meaning… but a little reflection helps us grasp what is at stake.

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Continue in series focused on Spiritual Insights for Insecure Times

Central truth - Apart from God… our relationship with money and possessions becomes corrupted and controlling.

We becomes slaves… smaller… captured in this early scene in the movie Wild Hogs… in the rather pathetic character played by John Travolta

Film Clip – Wild Hogs

This man needs serious reorientation… and I suppose I need it as well.

What we see is a man who uses people as a means to gain things to find himself.

Has he grown larger as a human being? No… in his pursuit to get… he has become a smaller person. Especially as he faces the loss of his resources… he is reduced to a whining boy.

In the midst of our insecurity and uncertainty what is the antidote? We’ve considered two… simplicity, trust in God… and today… Generosity

Generosity simply means giving readily to others. I think we all grasp the basic meaning… but a little reflection helps us grasp what is at stake. When we speak of a generous portion… it means.. larger. In truth, a generous person is larger… more truly full and fulfillimng their greatest dignity. The English word is derived from that which infers nobility...that which reflects what is greatest… to be cherished..

Generosity is a gift that lies among us and within us…in a strange way…

I think we both look up to it… respect it…revere it…want to reflect it… but know that it conflicts with something else within us. We love to give… but we really want to get as well… maybe even more.

This tension… conflict… becomes more acute as our nation faces leaner times.

So fitting to consider in these times… and in this week as we prepare to share in Thanksgiving

Jesus put it most simply… “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

Acts 20:35 (NLT) “I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

You may have always thought that was a Hallmark original… or Shakespeare…

This is the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders. Paul had chosen a way of life that truly followed Jesus. He also speaks into the life of the community in…

2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 8-9 (MSG) - MESSAGE TRANSLATION

“Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. 2 Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. 3 I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!— 4 pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians. 8 I’m not trying to order you around against your will. But by bringing in the Macedonians’ enthusiasm as a stimulus to your love, I am hoping to bring the best out of you. 9 You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, 10-11 (MSG) 6 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. 7 I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. …10 This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, 11 wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

Lets consider HOW generosity works in us… and then ho to cultivate it on a practical level. I. What is the Positive Power of Generosity?

1. Generosity is the power to connect us with the very nature of God… of the Divine generosity in whose image we were created to share in.

Who is the first giver… the initial force?…Paul reminds of how God has given… how Jesus gave up so much for us…

2. Generosity is the power to free us from the unhealthy grip of materialism.

Paul describes how the freedom breaks the power of what we perceive we cannot live without. Paul describes something of a miracle…“they gave more than they could…”

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