What Does Biblical Generosity Look Like?

July 19, 2023

Generosity is commonly associated with financial giving—a monthly tithe envelope or an automatic deduction from a bank account. When we look at the generosity of the Bible, though, we see it goes deeper than just the amount of money we’re willing to donate.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne…[and] the King will say to those on his right, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

Matthew 25:31, 34-36

These are a few characteristics of true, Bible-centered compassion:

Biblical generosity is tangible.

Instead of speaking about money in Matthew 25, Jesus mentions food, water, clothes, and love. In 1 Kings 17, a widow offers the prophet Elijah her flour and oil, even though it’s all she has. It is a tangible, sustainable gift—not a financial one. In the same way, we can volunteer our time and resources in place of our finances.

Biblical generosity is cheerful.

2 Corinthians 9:7 gives us freedom in our generosity. God doesn’t want gifts motivated by a sense of duty or obligation. He wants us to give out of joy and compassion. If anyone knows generosity, it is God—who gave His Son to us freely, even when He knew we would abuse the gift. Our generosity should be founded in love, not duty.

Biblical generosity is indiscriminate.

Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 shows us that the world is our neighbor. People we don’t really like, people we disagree with, and people we’ve never met all fall into this category. When we give indiscriminately, we have the opportunity to reflect God’s love to people who may not have felt it before—and that’s exactly what God has called us to do.

Biblical generosity is communal.

Throughout the Bible, we see the importance of community-centric generosity. In 1 Chronicles 29, David gives freely from the national reserves and from his own treasure stores, ultimately motivating other leaders of Israel to do the same. Giving in community can inspire others’ generosity, and the ripple effect is endless.

These are just a few components of Christ-centered giving. What others have you learned over the years? Share them with us in the comments!

As you pursue biblical generosity, our team at FCW would love to learn more about your passions. We have so many opportunities for you to get involved with us—get started here.

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