What does it mean to live generously? Living generously means living as an open or empty vessel. You allow the characteristics of God to flow in and through you so that God is glorified, others are blessed, and you, too, are blessed!
What Are the Characteristics of Living Generously?
- Living open-hearted
To live open-hearted means your heart is in tune with and living for God. God is open-hearted. His love is unconditional. His arms and heart are open to all who would receive Him. Living open-hearted means being compassionate and having God’s heart toward people and situations. When you are open-hearted, your heart is open to what God wants to do in and through you.
- Living open-minded
To live open-minded means your mind is set on Christ; your mind is renewed by the Word and not conformed to the world’s narrative, which results in being closed off to what God wants to do through you. The Bible says that as a Christian, you have the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), which means you can see and think about people and situations like Christ does. Living open-minded means getting rid of any pride and adopting a position of humility.
- Living open-handed
To live open-handed means that whatever you own does not own you. You are willing to part with things that “rust destroys or thieves could steal” (Matthew 6:19-21) if it means blessing someone else and bringing glory to God.
First Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” In other words, God may have given you abundant resources, wealth, or talents, which are there for you to manage. But as soon as they start managing you and your desires above God’s, you cross into dangerous territory.
Living open-hearted, open-minded, and open-handed are characteristics of living generously.
Paul Reminds Us to Be Living Generously
As Paul visits the church in Ephesus, he reminds them about his faithful service and urges them to follow his example of “serving the Lord with all humility” (Acts 20:19). He warns them about false teachers (savage wolves) and encourages them to sacrifice worldly gain to bring others to Christ.
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”—Acts 20:35
Let us remember these words from Acts 20:35 and look at the benefits of living generously…
3 Big Blessings That Come from Living Generously
Below are 3 big blessings that come from living generously. Each blessing gives further depth to how God, others, and you are blessed through giving.
- God is blessed.
- A reflection of His nature
God is generous. He gave His Son because He loves us and wants us to have eternal life. He is a God of abundance, not lack. He loves a cheerful giver because He is a cheerful giver. He is not tightfisted but generous and abundant. Psalm 104 speaks about the abundance, mercy, and loving-kindness of God.
When we are living generously, we reflect His nature.
- An expansion of His kingdom
Living generously for God’s kingdom expands the gospel. New people and places are reached with the good news of Jesus. There are practical ways of expansion from new buildings to new ministries. There are also spiritual, relational, and emotional ways of expanding the kingdom of God. When we are living generously, God’s love and mercy are expanded into our families, friends, workplaces, and beyond.
When someone who doesn’t know Jesus walks into a new building, has a conversation with a Christian at work, or is served through a ministry, it’s an opportunity for God to expand His kingdom. This was made possible because someone chose to live generously.
When we are living generously, we expand the kingdom.
- Others are blessed.
- Greater awareness
A small gift brings greater awareness to the need. A small donation is like a seed planted that begins to sprout and take root. It creates a greater awareness of others and their needs, which blossoms into compassion and generosity.
God’s Word tells us that He is our provider. He gives us all we need, and His heart is to have us share with others. Our sharing plants seeds. Awareness of needs and meeting them is a godly characteristic. When we see a need and choose to live generously, we reflect the heart of God. As a result, we encourage the faith of those who know Him and display the love of God to a watching world.
When we are living generously, we have a greater awareness of needs.
- Opportunities for the Holy Spirit
As we become more aware of the need, there are more opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in someone’s heart. Living generously allows revival and redemption to enter the scene, and lives are changed.
If you’ve ever been given a gift that brought you to tears, you know the emotion that comes when receiving it. Whether the gift is practical, like a box of food for a needy family, or encouraging, like kind words after a rough day, living generously blesses others and creates opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in hearts.
When we are living generously, the Holy Spirit has room to work.
- We are blessed.
The Bible says that when we have much, it is tempting to let the “much” control us (Luke 12:15, Ecclesiastes 5:10). When you choose to give what you want to hold close, it frees you from strongholds like greed and selfish ambition that only leave you unsatisfied.
Strongholds hold us back, consume our thoughts, and hinder us from stepping into what God has called us to do. But operating out of the Spirit (to give) rather than the flesh (to hold tight) frees us from that stronghold.
When we are living generously, we are freed from strongholds of greed and selfish ambition.
- Eternal mindset
As you are freed from the stronghold, you begin to see beyond your desires and into eternity. Our flesh is limited. It only sees what it can see in the natural, earthly realm. But God’s Word tells us to “set our minds on the things above” (Colossians 3:2).
When we give and invest in the kingdom’s mission to make the love of Jesus irresistible, our hearts and minds are fixed on God. Our priorities are aligned with His, and all the things that used to consume our thoughts and minds begin to fade, and we can begin to see lives changed by Jesus.
Consider the blessings of living generously…
- God is blessed
- Others are blessed
- You are blessed
Prayerfully consider how God wants you to live generously. The enemy will always tempt you to hold on to things. Holding on to earthy treasures gives him opportunities to put you into a stronghold. But you don’t have to give him those opportunities. You can choose to live generously, resisting the flesh and walking in the Spirit. How will you choose to live generously today? Let’s come together on mission to see lives changed by Jesus.