What is the most generous thing you have ever seen? Maybe it was a large donation to a charitable cause. Perhaps it was the great sacrifice of a kidney to save another person's life. Or maybe it was the time your parents spent their last dollar on something for you, when they had gone without for so long. We are familiar with generosity in our time.

As generous as man can be, he is no match for God. "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:9-11). Jesus mentions the generosity of man. He reminds us that our earthly fathers were good at giving us what we needed and asked for. Our parents did this, in spite of the fact they are not perfect. God is perfect. How much greater will be the generosity of our Father in heaven? God is generous in so many ways.

God Is Generous In Life: -- Paul tells Timothy that God "gives life to all things" (1 Tim. 6:13). God is the Creator of all life, including yours and mine. We exist because God chose to make it happen. Without God none of us would have anything, including life itself. That is what Paul told the philosophers of Athens. "The God who made the world and all things in it" (Acts 17:24). God made the world and all that is in the world. Moreover, without God life would not go on. "Since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Not only did God create us by giving us life, but He also sustains us in this life. God is generous in that He provides us a world in which to live so well.

In fact, God wants us to have more than life, He wants us to have life abundantly. Jesus said, "I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jno. 10;10). God didn't just provide us with life, He sent His Son so we could have an abundant, happy, fulfilled life. God is generous with so many material blessings just so we can enjoy life to the fullest.

God Is Generous With Resources: -- As we have seen, God gives us "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). God not only gives us life, but He provides the resources we need to live life. God wants us to know He is there and will take care of us by giving us the things we need to sustain life. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6). Paul says we are free to bring anything to God's attention and He will hear. Whatever our needs, God will listen and provide.

As Paul wrote about taking our requests to the Lord, he was in prison in Rome. He was not sure he would ever get out of jail. But, the apostle was well cared for, since God would provide what he needed. "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:11-13). Paul had seen God provide for him many times. But, even better, he had learned that God would provide what he needed even when Paul had to do without. So, Paul was happy when he had plenty, and he was happy when he had to do without. Paul could do that because he found his strength in God and His resources.

God Is Generous With Love: -- "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). God is overwhelming in His love for us. He demonstrated this love to us by sending Jesus to die for us, while we were still sinners! God looked beyond the sin, and loved us anyway. While at our worst, God's love broke through and reached out to us.

This is God's nature, in spite of our failings. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 Jno. 4:7- 10). God loves us, even though we don't fully grasp what that means. God loves us so much He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins. This is a love beyond our comprehension. That is how Paul describes this love. "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:17-19). The apostle tells us this love surpasses knowledge, because it is so immense, so beyond our minds or understanding. God is generous in love. He gives us love that we cannot grasp, and loves us in spite of our sins.

God Is Generous In Mercy: -- God is generous in many ways, but He is very generous when it comes to His mercy and His grace. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us" (Eph. 2:4). God is rich in mercy. That is, He has plenty and He wants to share it with you and with me. God desires to show mercy and wants to forgive every one of us. Paul reminds Timothy that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). God wants your salvation so much, He will extend the mrecy you need in order to be saved.

And once you are saved, God will continue to be generous with His mercy. "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? he who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:31,32). God tells us that if He paid the ultimate price in allowing Jesus to die for you, do you think He will become stingy now and withhold what you need? God proved He is generous in mercy when Jesus died for you. God will continue to be rich in mercy toward you once you are His child.

So, we have confidence to come to God, knowing He is rich in mercy. "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). We can approach God, even when we need mercy and grace, and we can know He will be there. What this means is that in spite of our failings we can come to God, because He is rich in mercy and grace toward us.

God Is Generous With New Life: -- When you come to this loving, merciful God, you can count on Him to give you a wonderful new life. "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:3,4). When you die to sin and are buried into the death of Jesus through baptism, you will be raised to walk in newness of life. Now, the abundant life Jesus promises (Jno. 10:10), is yours completely. The old way of life is gone, and you can experience a powerful new wayto face the world. "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things are passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:14-17). When you surrender to God, you will no longer be controlled by sin, but by the wonderful love of God in Jesus. he died so we can become new creatures and can, as new creatures, see everything differently. We see Jesus differently, and we will see the world differently. Jesus didn't ke so you would be stuck with your old life. He died to creat in you a new life that can change everything about you.

God Is Generous With Eternal Life: -- God is generous beyond this life. He promises eternal life to those who trust in Jesus for their salvation. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (Jno. 3;16). God is so generous with His love that He offers you and me a chance at eternal life. This hope allows us to look beyond this life and see what God promises for the next life (to those who obey Him).

All this is in spite of what we deserved. "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 6:22,23). We deserved death, but God's generous love and mercy offers us eternal life.

Accept God's Generosity: -- Some people just don't like to accept gifts. They are afraid there are strings attached. Sometimes, when we see people being generous, we are skeptical of their motives. Whatever your view of the generosity of people, do not turn away from the generosity of God. No matter what you have done, God loves you and He will be merciful. No matter how badly you have done, God will give you new life. And, He will do it all generously. Won't you accept the wonderful gifts of God (on His terms, meeting His conditions, JWS)?

By David Thurman in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 53, No. 42, Oct. 15, 2004.

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