Their senior pastor, Adam Hamilton, was preaching the final sermon, the story of Noah and the Ark, in a 3-part series entitled Children of Eden. In his sermon, Adam referenced an ancient Jewish, Old Testament teaching on growing in righteousness, also known as the Levels of Tzedakah. Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for charity.
So, according to Hebrew, Talmudic teaching, there are at least 6 levels of charity or generosity:
- Giving begrudgingly.
- Giving less than you should, but cheerfully.
- Giving after being asked.
- Giving before you are asked.
- Giving when the other person knows you are giving.
- Giving when the other person doesn't know you are giving.
As you can see, each level builds upon the next. The starting place is reluctant giving, then moves to cheerful giving, and the generous spirit grows from there.
So, where do you find yourself on these six levels of generosity? Are you at level one, level six, or somewhere in between?
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