Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Generosity is a fruit of a righteous life

Wicked borrows and never returns; Righteous gives and gives. Generous gets it all in the end; Stingy is cut off at the pass... I once was young, now I'm a graybeard - not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets. Every day he's out giving and lending, his children making him proud (Psalm 37:21-22, 25-26, The Message).

There is a connection between righteousness and generosity

In the above verses, we see that there is a connection between living out a life of righteousness and living out a life of generosity. Generosity is a byproduct of a righteousness life. It would be difficult for me to be living in a state of righteousness and not be generous and vice versa. They are both inter-related to one another.

First, let's get a couple of definitions out of the way:
Righteousness - the quality or state of acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous.
Generosity - readiness or liberality in giving.
According to these verses, the non-righteous are those who are declared "wicked." Their financial management style is questionable - they borrow and never repay. Simply put, they have a lack of integrity with their finances. They are also stingy, which is the opposite of generosity. Stinginess is nothing but a reluctance to give or spend. Just think Ebenezer Scrooge, and you get the picture; he wasn't the greatest guy to work for or even be around!

Pursue righteousness

Do you desire to be less stingy with the money God has blessed with you with? Then pursue righteousness. Do you desire to grow in your spirit of generosity? Then pursue a righteous life. Live as a man or woman of integrity. Get your financial house in order. Repay your debts as quickly as possible. Spend whatever money you have wisely, but don't become a stingy, old miser. If the truth be told, how we behave with our money, how we spend our money, and how we give our money is really just a reflection of what is going on in our hearts and minds.

A few years ago, I was talking with a friend about people who battle addictions. He made a comment to me that I have never forgotten. He was telling me that from his own experience, the people who have problems with addictions are a complete mess, financially. They are so embroiled in their addiction that they are living by the seat of their pants. They can't think clearly. The only plan they currently have going is when and where they can get their next "high." If that means they are going heavily into debt to feed that addiction, then so be it. They don't care. As a result, of course, they are not living out a life of generosity. They have become takers, not givers. For those who battle the addictive personality, they need to stop and allow God to work on their hearts and minds in order to break free from their bondage. They need to pursue a life of righteousness that is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The blessings of righteousness and generosity

I can picture King David as an older and much wiser man sitting in his palace penning the words to Psalm 37. He calls himself a "greybeard." He's been around for a while now and he's seen a lot in his time here on earth. In his experience, he states that he has never seen the righteous out begging for food. God provides for those whom He loves. Is He going to make you a millionaire if you are pursuing a life of righteousness and generosity? He might, but probably not. He has promised, though, to take care of His children. He wants you to be a giver. He wants you to live a righteous life.
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor (Proverbs 21:20-21, NIV).
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