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Let’s live generously

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I want to be as generous as Marc Shifano. Everything he has is available to me or you if we need it. He’s quick to love. 1 Corinthians 13 says “love believes the best about people.” That’s Marc. It’s a generous way to live; it feeds your spirit.    Too many times in my life, unconvi…
By Seth Barnes
ShifanoI want to be as generous as Marc Shifano. Everything he has is available to me or you if we need it. He’s quick to love.
1 Corinthians 13 says “love believes the best about people.” That’s Marc. It’s a generous way to live; it feeds your spirit. 
 
Too many times in my life, unconvinced of the generosity of God, afraid of losing the little that I had, I sparingly doled out to others in need. An earthquake leaves hundreds of thousands of orphans, but I don’t tap my 401k. I don’t look into the possibility of adopting one of them.
 
Others may think me generous; they may see the times when I’ve said “yes,” but I see the times when I could have said “yes” and didn’t. Occasionally, I’ve surprised myself, giving what I had before doing a mental inventory of my resources. But usually I feel like the cautious steward trying to reckon the return before I give.
 
What about you? How are you doing with this issue? Are you convinced of God’s provision and the cornucopia of his resources? Or have you felt yourself scraping bottom once too many times so that you find it difficult to trust him?
 
Generous living is the wellspring of grace. If people feel that our time and other precious resources are freely available, it helps them to live generously too. It sloshes over into their lives – they can’t help the prompting inside to give. Jesus said when someone asks you for the shirt off your back to give it to him. And people like Marc do that – giving is just a reflex.
 
A life of generosity is rooted in an inner Spirit-fueled freedom – keep giving and your actions crowd out your normal inclinations to think of yourself first. I love the exhortation of Galatians 5:16 in this regard, “Live, freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.”
 
A life where your own needs motivate your actions is a form of slavery. Taken to an extreme, you can become a kind of Gollum ruminating over those things you find precious. But who wants to end up that way? Does anybody reading this really want to spend most of their time and money on themselves?
 
“He had a good job, put money in the bank and went on some fun vacations.” Is that how you want to be remembered?
 
Sometimes in this hardscrabble world, we may feel so pressed down by life and its pressures that we grow cynical about the possibility of living generously. And that’s a place where the enemy of our souls wants to keep us.
 
When we’re stuck in a place defined by impossibility and personal need, God is not looking for us to defy spiritual gravity and will our own freedom. He’ll do the heavy lifting by setting us free from the tyranny of self-interest if we’ll just humble ourselves, set down what we perceive as needs, and allow his generous spirit room enough to work.

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