Monday, May 20

Generosity: the requisite challenge

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’” Luke 10:33-35 (ESV)

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)

What does that mean practically that generosity entails more than money? Let’s consider the Good Samaritan.

What did the Samaritan give the the injured man? His own bandages, oil, and wine; a place on his own animal; a night of attentive care; interminable financial assistance; his time and attention. What costs did the Samaritan incur for his generosity? His material goods (wine and oil were luxury items); his comfort (walking instead of riding—who knows how far the inn was); a whole night of his life (he was on the road for a reason and the injured man interrupted); two denarii plus a risky financial agreement (the innkeeper could easily have taken advantage of the Samaritan); his own physical well-being (all of his actions put the Samaritan at risk of the same treatment as the injured man or worse).

Generosity always demands sacrifice. This makes it so difficult yet so beautiful. As recipients of God’s lavish grace, we always have precious things we can give. Giving our precious things costs us our benefit of them. But others get to benefit from them, and their benefits burgeon because we foot the cost. Thus we find generosity is the sacrificial giving of something precious for another’s betterment.

Question: What precious things has God blessed you with? To what end are you pursuing and using them?

Justin W.