Do you know someone you would describe as generous? Would anyone describe you that way? Regardless, most of us would agree that generosity is a trait to be desired and fostered in our lives. And, it is directly connected to our view of worship.
A study of scripture helps us understand that generosity has nothing to do with wealth. In Second Corinthians 8 we read about the churches of Macedonia who had two attributes over-flowing in ample supply: extreme poverty and generosity. They gave out of their poverty in abundance after first giving themselves completely to God. They gave in order to survive. They begged the apostles for the privilege of giving because they knew their generosity was the key to their survival.
Paul goes on to instruct the church at Corinth who excelled in everything, to excel in generosity as well. And, in just a few verses he unlocks the secret of generosity.
In the last verse of chapter nine, we find the key to growing in generosity. Those of us who plan worship need to bear this in mind – that the willingness of our people to give is directly tied to where their focus is in worship.
If our worship focus remains on us – our feelings, our worship, our words of praise – we won’t be encouraging generosity. Notice 2 Corinthians 9:15, the culminating verse in this profound passage about giving;
“Thanks be to our God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
The Christians in Macedonia were generous because they were focused in the sacrifice of Jesus. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 2:9, CSB)
Isaac Watts must have understood this.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. (“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” stanza 4)
Do you to grow generosity on your church? Would you want to see your people learn how to give?
Sing about the cross.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.