Most of us grow up believing that everything which is desirable on earth is limited. In order to survive, people have to fight for what they want, no matter if it is natural resources or opportunities. This mentality is sometimes known as the principle of scarcity.
The principle of scarcity urges us to protect our resources, our time, our house, our job, our money and so on. If we do not protect our possession, we are left with insecurity. Under the principle of scarcity, giving itself is a loss. People who give will become insecure, fearful and vulnerable.
The Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaims, however, is totally different. The principle of generosity tells us that there is a God who is loving. He owns everything and gives generously. He is eager to let His children enjoy the best of Him. He is eager to provide them with abundance. He even entrusts His Kingdom to His children. God invites us into His Kingdom and to be contended in God, our Heavenly Father.
It is good news for those who live under the mentality of scarcity, as our Father’s generosity knows no limit. In Him, we can find security. In Him, we can be contended. Having such a generous Father gives us courage to venture out for His Kingdom.
The early church was an excellent example of a faith community, which left the “land of scarcity” into the “land of generosity.”
Early Christians were similar to us. They were used to fight for themselves. However, Luke told us that Christian faith has changed them drastically:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:42-45)
People came to church and saw Christians devoted themselves to their faith. They saw God’s powerful presence among His people. The lifestyle demonstrated by these Christians was totally different from that of the world too.
The Bible says,
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:42-45)
Instead of getting, the early church learned to give in God’s love. They shared the same value system, which was based on the principle of generosity from the Kingdom of God. They experienced a new kind of freedom, which enabled them to give freely and generously. The Bible said they were selling their possessions and property to help any had need. That was an intentional and a determined effort to help people in need. Tthe Bible sounds like they were so used to it, that it became their new norm.
Giving is in Christian’s DNA; Generosity is their heritage.
In Acts 20, Paul talked about giving:
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35)
Paul told the church to work hard in helping the people in need. He encouraged the church not to leave the work of giving to simply by chance, but to make an effort to help those who are in need. It is not only Paul’s teaching but Jesus’ command: “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
For Jesus and Paul, giving is a gain. It is a gain for the person who gives. It is a gain for His Kingdom. The early church witnessed how God’s love was actualized in the real world. History told us that the early church was perceived as a blessing in the community. As Luke wrote,
“.....having favour with all the people.” (Acts 2:47)
It all started when some people believed in the principle of generosity and acted on it. The poor, the weak, the marginalized received help and became strong. They helped others and became a blessing. The early church brought forth transformation, not only to individuals but also to the culture.
Imagine if the contemporary church would become a place like this. Imagine if we become a community eager in giving. How much more can we bless our community?
1.What is your habit of giving? Do you find giving challenging? Why?
2.How can you learn to give, including your resources, skills etc.?