Friday, May 24

generosity: the pleasure of god

‘"And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:20-21 (ESV)

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)

Many Americans, myself included, have assimilated a far more utilitarian outlook than we realize. Coupled with modernism, this distills our understanding of the world like this—we ascribe meaning to reality and its objects (instead of them having an inherent meaning) and usually we root that meaning in their utility. Surely, we tell ourselves, God commands as he does for a reason (and one that makes sense to me).

God does command purposely, but we falsely assume the reason must serve some practical end or tangible purpose. Problematically, then, when we do not see the reason we dismiss the command. We re-live the first temptation—did God really say that? He must have meant otherwise.

The Bible does provide a meta-reason to obey—the pleasure of God. Nothing more. Into what does the master invite the one who stewards his money well? The master’s joy. Why does Hebrews’ author admonish the reader to do good and share? Because it pleases God.

If the only reason the Bible gave for Christian generosity was the pleasure of God, that would be enough. This concludes our definition—generosity is the joyful, obedient, and sacrificial giving of something precious for another’s betterment, our preservation, and God’s pleasure.

Question: Do you find it difficult to obey if you don’t see the point (or agree with it)? The next time you have an opportunity to exercise your obedience muscles, specifically by living generously, fix your mind, soul, and heart on doing it to please God.

Justin W.