HOLY HABITS 8: Gladness and Generosity
’Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts’ (Acts2: 46).
The church embodied the quality of being kind and generous. It was a countercultural symbol in a world of avarice and greed.
The generous love that the disciples have freely received from God prompts them to share it generously with those around them, in a practical way. As a result, the church had a favourable reputation with outsiders which was good and had a positive impact on their witness and growth. In Acts 2:47 we are told that ‘day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved’.
Generosity is a quality( like honesty and patience) that we all probably wish we had more of. The quality of being generous is a willingness to give help or support, more than is usual or expected. When you show generosity, you might give away things or money or put others before yourself.
But generosity is about more than money and things. When you’re forgiving and gentle to people, you show generosity of spirit. If you give others help or credit and encouragement, that shows generosity. This takes us to the very heart of the Gospel message.
Generosity for Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 is an expression of the Corinthian believer’s relationship to God. God loves generosity because God gives us grace in abundance.
The overflow of generous giving enables its recipients in turn to give generously to others. Thus, when believers give it is really God giving through them.
As with all of our Holy Habits, it takes time, effort and application to bring about change from within. For some of us, having a glad and generous spirit comes quite naturally; perhaps you are blessed with a sunny personality and have been given plenty of emotional capital in your early life. If on the other hand you have low stocks of love and goodness within, then acting in a glad and generous manner will be hard indeed! The good news for all of us is that God has showered His love upon us in Christ and so we all have every good reason to begin from a place of gratitude in the kingdom of God, even if our past life left much to be desired.
Here are some practical habit forming actions:
· Keep a journal with each day the question: ‘What am I grateful for this day’?
· Try ‘random acts of kindness’ eg send a card to a neighbour in need; clean a loved one’s shoes!
· Open your home and invite neighbours who you barely know – why? Because you wanted to share a cake or a glass of wine with them!
· ‘It is the season of……’ why wait until Christmas when we all try a little harder; offer a cheery word to the shop assistant, just to brighten their day.
· This harvest time, give a little something to the food bank or to Saunderton Lodge for families made homeless when the opportunity arises on October 13th
· Can we think of any ways in which we can be more generous as a church, with our resources financial and material?!
Count your blessings!
be kind - try this website for random acts of kindness!
Invite someone you don't know well for a cuppa
Bring a donation for Harvest - see our front page