Screen Shot 2016 03 16 at 5.28.47 PM The Secret to Living and Giving Generously

The Secret to Living and Giving Generously

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Recently I spoke at a church about the fullness of God’s generosity as a gift to us. After the service, my wife and I were invited to share lunch with the pastor and his family.  Also attending the lunch was Strong, the pastor’s six-year-old grandson.

For 3.31 blog post - StrongDuring our meal, Strong enthusiastically announced that he wanted us to join him in playing a game. He began with this question: “Except for Jesus and God, who is your favorite Bible character?” Then he added: “You must tell me why you chose them to be your favorite.”

At first, this game seemed a little out of place for the moment.  We were in the depths of discussing the wonderful gift of generosity as a bunch of “sage” adults. But I would discover how mistaken I was about how much this game would reveal to us.

Many characters, one important character trait

We indulged our young friend and went around the room calling out our favorite biblical characters: Barnabas, Abraham, Esther, the Good Samaritan, the Widow who gave her last mite.

Later, I found myself processing this moment and discovered something Strong so innocently led us to see: We were drawn to how these characters lived out their faith by giving generously. Barnabas was a selfless servant to Paul and all whom he served in his daily ministry. Abraham sacrificially gave Lot the choice of the best land for his cattle to graze. And he showed the ultimate generosity by being willing to sacrifice his firstborn son for his God. The courageous and compassionate acts of the Good Samaritan, the Widow, and Esther reflected similar convictions of sacrifice and selflessness.

They all represented this important character trait: a heart overflowing with giving that drove their service to God and to others. Put simply, they lived out the generous nature of God.

This defined the characters we selected and it was the way Jesus led his life while He was here on earth, ultimately giving the most significant gift—His life.

What this means for us today

Today, godly servants like these live with an intentional life purpose. They are givers with a Kingdom mindset. They have a missional compass that directs them to see and change their worlds in significant ways. The lens they look through allows them to see life and ask, “What can I do today to be a generous vessel for Christ and His Kingdom?” Ultimately, they model for us the secret that Paul summarizes in Acts 20:32, “It is more blessed to give (emphasis mine) and be generous than to receive.”

Take some time and reflect on these questions:

  • How well are you living out this secret?
  • Are you someone that people in your community would describe as generous?
  • Are they drawn to you for your giving heart or selfless spirit? Why or why not?
  • Do people see you as a taker or giver?

Developing a heart that pursues this type of generosity story takes commitment, intentionality, and consistency. In our next post, I’ll introduce you to the Generosity Ladder, a tool that will give you a better sense of your generous approach and help you develop a Kingdom vision for living a life marked by generosity.


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About the Author
Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald

For the last 25 years, Mark has led Canterbury Partners, a branding, strategy, and content development firm serving both Fortune 500 companies and ministries like Purpose Driven Life, Promisekeepers, World Vision, and Focus on the Family. He’s passionate about the generosity movement and recently founded Full Life Generosity (, a ministry equipping Christian leaders to live selflessly, redemptively, and sacrificially.

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