Live Generously

June 9, 2023

If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Deuteronomy 15:7-8

When I consider what it is to live generously this image of an open hand often comes to mind.

In imagining what generosity looks like we often see it embodied in giving a lot of money away, buying people gifts or serving at a soup kitchen. These are definitely generous acts and shouldn’t be discounted, but I am interested in considering what a generous person looks like. Someone for whom generosity is part of who they are as opposed to simply something they do on occasion. That is where the open hand comes in. I think if we want to be generous people we live with an open hand.

An open hand means we hold our blessings, our resources, gifts, time, loosely because we recognize that they ultimately belong to the Lord and that they were given to us not so that we could live self-focused, self-serving lives, but so that our plenty could supply the want of others, so that our abundance could meet our neighbor’s scarcity.

When we live generously, we are consciously seeking opportunities to use what God has given us to meet the needs of those he places in our lives.

To skip ahead in the Bible a little, another way to think about what it looks like to live generously comes to us in the famous parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Here in answer to the question how we obtain eternal life, which is answered with loving God and our neighbor, the follow up question of  – Who is my neighbor? is answered with this well-known story.

The Samaritan finds someone in need on the road he is traveling. No doubt, he had somewhere to be and many potential uses for his money. However, he helped the injured man, deviated from his schedule and expended his own resources to help make him whole again. He was living, traveling, with an open hand that did not hold either his time or his money too tightly. This, Jesus said, is how we love our neighbor. This is what generosity looks like.

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