A while back, I was challenged by my mentor to ask my kids, “Where do you see Jesus most clearly in your mom and me?” That scared me. Yet I took a big gulp and did it. Their responses were as follows:
- My youngest daughter laughed nervously and didn’t answer – that made me feel like parent of the year.
- My oldest daughter talked about things we did when she was little – that made me wonder why she couldn’t see anything today.
- My oldest son talked about how he sees Jesus in us as we seek to live generously – that brought some level of redemption to the exercise!
Someone once said that generosity is best caught versus taught, and we catch it up close and personal.
From a “micro-perspective” a life of open-handed generosity makes Jesus real to the ones around us we love the most. Honestly, I struggle with worry and shame over mistakes that we’ve made in raising our children. I see them struggle through life and wonder what we’ve done to contribute to the struggle. One of my hopes is that the admittedly broken picture of gospel-centered generosity that we’ve sought to live out before them will stick. And when they need Jesus the most they will see Him as a generous Savior they can turn to.
There is a “macro-perspective” generosity play here as well. So many Christians are fretting over recent Supreme Court rulings and the loss of morality in our culture. Recent statistics show that Christianity is being pushed further out to the margins of public life. The reality we are facing in America is we are losing our position of dominance and authority. And naturally we don’t want to lose that power.
Yet perhaps this loss of worldly power will free us to demonstrate another kind of power to the world – Jesus-focused generosity.
Yet perhaps this loss of worldly power will free us to demonstrate another kind of power to the world – Jesus-focused generosity. Perhaps like my son, the world will finally see Jesus through a Church that focuses on sacrificial love versus self-serving legality or through generous works combined with life-giving words. Throughout history the Church seems to make Jesus known most clearly (and therefore grows most rapidly) when it finds itself in the minority and therefore is free to give sacrificially through the power of the Spirit with the message of the gospel.
We should have a passion to spread Jesus-centered generosity because we know that it has the potential to impact the little things as well as the big things in our worlds today.
*Click on the red words to watch Andy Stanley unpack this reality in this great video clip .
Patrick Johnson Currently, directs the vision of GenerousChurch and lives in central Mississippi with his wife, Jennifer, and their children.