DCL 1.5 Instruction | Our Generosity: Today’s Generosity Gives Me Significance
“…For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
In our world today, so much emphasis is placed on living longer and cramming more into our lives. We seem to be interested more in quantity than quality. Jesus didn’t model that value. He taught us that it is not the duration of our lives that counts, but the donation! It isn’t about what we get out of it, but what we put into it. Consider these questions: When I die, what will I leave behind for others? Will I leave more than an inheritance…will I leave a legacy?
In this session, we will focus on three additional important items to manage in our lives: our generosity, our values and our personal growth.
Video Presentation: Tom Atema, VP of International Ministries and Strategic Partnerships, EQUIP
If your income doubled overnight, how much money would you give away? How about if your net worth was suddenly more than you could count? What if you became the richest person in the world?
Yes, those are just dreams, but God asks us a real stewardship question every day of our lives. Our response communicates how much He can trust us with more resources: What are we going to do with what we have? The question isn’t what we’ll do if we somehow obtain a lot of money someday. The issue is: what are we doing with our resources now?
Case Study: The Rich Man (Luke 12:15-21)
In this famous story, Jesus introduces us to a rich man who illustrates what happens when our lives center on ourselves instead of others. Note the truths in this passage:
1. He was faced with a decision on what to do with the surplus he had (v. 16-17).
2. He chose to store up his surplus and consume it all himself (v. 18).
3. He was shocked when his life ended and God found him totally bankrupt (v. 19-20).
4. He failed in life because he never developed a generous spirit (v. 21).
- Why does accumulating more resources fail to lead to generosity?
Why Generosity Matters Today
What about us as leaders? How should we approach giving? Why should we be generous? There are many reasons, but let’s look at three of them below:
1. Giving Turns Your Focus Outward.
Jesus said: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21). He didn’t say it was the other way around. He said to put your money somewhere, and your heart will follow. Giving turns your focus outward, instead of on yourself. Generosity is changing one’s focus from self to others.
2. Giving Adds Value to Others.
Anyone who is generous is valuable. Proverbs 11:24-25 reminds us: “There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” When you add value to others, you do not take anything from yourself. In fact, the greater your giving, the greater you’re living.
3. Giving helps the Giver.
When you are generous to others, you cannot help but benefit yourself. It’s the way God set up His Kingdom. Jesus teaches us: “Give and it shall be given to you. Good measure pressed down shaken together and running over shall men give unto you.” (Luke 6:38)
- What prevents you from being more generous?
Making the Decision to Model Generosity
Here are some tips to living a more generous life:
1. Don’t keep score. (Give others your resources without keeping track of your gift.)
2. Give others yourself, not just your money. (Offer your time and energy sacrificially.)
3. Don’t wait for prosperity to become generous. (Manage what you have now.)
4. Find reasons to give every day. (Look for excuses to give generously to others.)
5. Find people every day to whom you can add value. (Be proactive in looking for people to invest in.)
Follow these rules of adding value:
1. Value people: Treat everyone with respect.
2. Know what people value: Listen and understand them.
3. Make yourself more valuable: Grow in relevant ways.
4. Do things that God values: Since He loves unconditionally, so must we.
- What is one step you should take today to model generosity?
DCL Meditation and Inspiration Media and Notes © Willow Creek Association.
DCL Instruction Media and Notes © EQUIP Million Leaders Mandate Volume 2.