In my 20 plus years in full-time ministry, I’ve received some very generous gifts from some amazing people. Our family has received a new oven, three cars, a new transmission, clothes, vacations, and even a surprise shopping spree! We are so thankful for people who have been generous towards us when it comes to material things.
But I’ve also had some people who were spiritually generous. These people were deep in their walk with Christ. They were listening to the Holy Spirit and learning about God’s grace and his unsurpassable love. They would meet with me early in the morning or late into the night. They would skip over the chit-chat and get right to what God was teaching them in their lives. They would pour out their soul to me in the hopes that I would catch a glimpse of this amazing God who has showered us with his love through Jesus. And so often, I received it like a dip in a cool pond on a scorching day. It refreshed my spirit and soul.
A Cheerful Giver
The other day I read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. This is the famous passage about how God loves a cheerful giver. You may have heard this in church right before they take up the offering. In context, this passage is about a material gift of money being given to the ministry of the Apostle Paul. So it makes sense for us to understand it in a way that encourages us to be generous with our material wealth. But another part of this passage speaks to being spiritually generous.
In verses 10-12 Paul says, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God."
The material gift had spiritual consequences. Being materially generous to the ministry of Paul was also being spiritually generous to those to whom Paul and his team were ministering.
It is still the same today. Generosity really is the gift that keeps on giving. I want to encourage you to not only be materially generous to the ministries God is leading you to give to, but also to be spiritually generous. Here’s how:
- Take five minutes to dwell on your life in Christ, thinking deeply about how much Christ has given you spiritually, how he has been gracious to you in very specific ways. Remember also those who have poured their life into you. Who has been spiritually generous to you? How has that impacted your life? How has that encouraged you in your marriage or influenced the way you parent your kids? How have they helped you understand the gospel in deeper ways?
- Now that you have reminded yourself of those blessings, it’s time to bless others. It’s time to be generous spiritually to others. Take what God is teaching you every day and share it with someone every day. Allow the grace that Christ is pouring into you to overflow to those around you.
What did you read in Scripture this morning? What circumstance did God use today to teach you something about who you are in Christ or about the provision of himself? Have you heard an encouraging word from a sermon or podcast lately? Are you reading a devotional that is helping you understand the truths of Scripture better?
Take what you are learning, hearing, and experiencing from God and pass it on. Be gracious with it. If it helped you, then share it with someone else. Social media is a great outlet but so is a private conversation with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker. Or your minister or pastor.
Do you know this is exactly what I’m doing right now? I read this 2 Corinthians passage and I just had to share it somehow, so I’m writing this article.
Let’s encourage one another and start to be spiritually generous with the wealth that God has given to us. You have nothing to lose and everything to give. Well, I hope you are encouraged and don’t forget — the Gospel changes everything!