If They Only Thought They Could

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 In Knowing Christ Today, Dallas Willard says of people, "They would love to be generous—if they only thought they could." I found that statement most interesting. Are there virtues and behaviors that we humans do not attempt because we doubt our ability to become more than we presently are? I believe so—especially in terms of generosity. Over the years, in response to sermons on generosity, I have received a number of comments from people who simply do not believe it's important, or who do not believe it's "their gift," or who do not believe that what they are capable of giving even matters. We can and we must, because God has called us to be so and empowers us to be so.

In his terrific book, It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian, Tod Bolsinger observes, "…we sometimes forget that the earliest form of worship was to kill an animal, to offer grain, to pour out some wine. Go back to Cain and Abel and you'll recognize that long before there were prayers and songs and organs and drum sets, there was the offering. The offering is the oldest, most basic and straight-forward form of worship. It is giving something to God."

So, here's a Christmas challenge. Worship the Lord that way. Don't opt out of generosity by saying to yourself and others, "God doesn't just want us to give our money, he wants our time, and our talents as well." Of course He does. However, it's our money that Jesus says tells where our heart is. So, if you want your heart to be with God, put your treasure there as well. This is a season to be generous, not just because of the "Christmas spirit," but because of the Christ Child—the one who is Himself the climax of God's generosity toward us. Let us worship Him by giving to others, and to Kingdom efforts. Like the wise men, let's bring an offering…

…to the church…the Bride of Christ and our Christian family,

…to the poor…in whom we can see Christ himself,

…to a global evangelism effort…light up the world.

We can be generous, because God the Generous lives in us.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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