Generous Sharing

How To Give - Generous Sharing

by Erin Bird

Today is Day 26 in our six-week/40 Day “Generosity Campaign.” I hope this has been a good-yet-challenging series for you, thus far. If you haven’t had a chance to do at least a couple of the “Generosity Activity” ideas we’ve been posting on social media, it’s not too late to do at least one of them. You can catch up on our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and/or Instagram account. We’ll be posting a few more ideas over the next couple of weeks. When you do a few of these Generosity Activities, you are helping yourself grow in generosity, so go ahead and do at least one of the ideas over the last couple of weeks in our campaign.

Speaking of growing in generosity, today’s passage from 1 Timothy 6:17-19 addresses this very idea.

The Power of “And”

Quick Reminder: we are in a series here on our blog called How to Be Rich based on 1 Timothy 6:17-19, which says…

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)

Because we talked about being “rich in good works” last week, we are ready to look at the last phrase of verse 18: “to be generous and ready to share.”

As you know, the word “and” is a connector word. When you say “Jake and Grace,” you are acknowledging that the two of them go together. They are connected.

The same goes with this week’s phrase. When Paul is telling Timothy to instruct the wealthy people in his church on how to follow Jesus, he connects the words “generous” and “share.”

How To Give - Generous SharingIf you think about it, this makes sense. The dictionary defines generous as “giving more than expected.” But you could easily swap out the word “giving” and replace it with the word “sharing” – and it is still perfectly logical! The words generous and sharing are intricately linked.

I think too often, we limit the idea of “generous” to financial giving. But when you realize the word “generous” is tied to the word “sharing,” suddenly your concept of generosity expands. This means you are being generous when you…

  • give a cup of flour or a couple of eggs to a neighbor,
  • let someone borrow your extra car just sitting in your driveway,
  • bring a surprise coffee for a coworker,
  • text an encouraging word or a funny meme to a friend,
  • share a bit of insight in a mentoring or parenting relationship,
  • give a bowl of tomatoes you grew in your garden,
  • or talk about your faith in Jesus.

A Posture of Sharing

In week 1 of our How to Give series on Sundays, we saw from 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 that to truly be generous means we need to live with a “posture” of giving. We see that here in 1 Timothy as well. Paul tells us to be “ready to share.” Rather than be quick to anger, or quick to tease, or quick to avoid; to be like Jesus means we need to be quick to share, to have a posture of generosity, to be ready to give to someone in need.

So how can you be quick to display generosity this week through the act of sharing? Let me encourage you to be on the lookout for the opportunity to share something of your FIST (Finances, Influence, Skill, or Time) over the course of the next few days.

Rich in Good Works

Rich in Good Works

by Erin Bird

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whenever you are reading this!

I hope you survived the downtime of Facebook and its sister apps this past Monday. I am rarely on Facebook anymore, so I didn’t know about the outage until I saw some news headlines. Based upon those headlines, it would seem that Facebook & Instagram being down for almost six hours is worse than COVID-19! In other news, productivity inexplicably jumped 37% this past Monday for a six-hour span.* 😁

As you hopefully know, we are in the middle of a six-week “Generosity Campaign.” Today (Oct 7) is Day 19, which means tomorrow is the midpoint of this “campaign.” If you’ve missed out on any of the “Generosity Activities” we’ve been posting on social media (maybe because Facebook was down for six hours?), be sure to go to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to get some ideas for how you are can show generosity.

Discipling Words for the Rich

Speaking of “showing generosity,” that is exactly what today’s phrase from 1 Timothy 6:17-19 is all about. In case you have forgotten (or missed previous installments), we have been looking at 1 Timothy 6:17-19 for the past few weeks as part of a series entitled “How to be Rich” (a supplement to our How to Give series we are doing from 2 Corinthians 9 on Sundays).

As a reminder, 1 Timothy 6:17-19 says:

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV)

Last week, Matt Townsley brilliantly wrote about placing our hope in God (who is reliable) rather than in money (which is FAR from reliable). This means we are ready for the first phrase of verse 18 – “they are to do good, to be rich in good works.”

Rich in Good WorksAs we get ready to talk about this phrase, I want to remind you these words are from the Apostle Paul in a letter to Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus (a church planted by Paul a few years prior). His letter is intended to encourage Timothy, but also provide training and tips to help Timothy disciple the people in his church. One of the last groups of people Paul tells Timothy to disciple are the rich in this present age.” So far he has told Timothy to help the wealthy to not be haughty, as well as trust in God rather than their income.

But then Paul instructs Timothy to take the discipleship of the wealthy even further. They aren’t just to give their money to good causes. They are to actually “do good.” They aren’t to just give their finances, but their whole FIST (Finances, Influence, Skills, & Time). And Paul defines  “do good” with the very next phrase: “to be rich in good works.”

A Different Kind of Rich

Have you ever heard someone talk about being “rich,” but they aren’t talking about money? Maybe they are “rich” because of the wonderful friendships they have. Or maybe they feel “rich” because of the awards they’ve been given, or the phenomenal experiences they’ve had traveling around the world. The point is, being “rich” isn’t relegated to just having a large bank account, a huge house, or a fancy car.

That is what Paul is getting at. He doesn’t want the wealthy families in Timothy’s church to get stuck with just a financial definition of “rich.” He wants them to see they can be rich in a different way as well. One of those ways is to be “rich in good works.”

Paul’s discipling advice to the rich is just as needed in our present-day and age. We are living in very divided times with people tired from the pandemic, from their packed schedules, from information overload, and from an overall fatigue that seems to be plaguing Americans. But rather than see this as a major bummer, we should see this as an opportunity. What a wonderful chance you and I have to bring life, relief, and joy to others who are feeling the fatigue! When you…

  • serve at the monthly Food Pantry,
  • or love on kids in the nursery on Sundays,
  • or make a meal for a neighbor,
  • or give someone a ride to work or school,
  • or send someone a thank-you note
  • or just listen to a friend share his or her struggles…

…you are being “rich in good works.”

But that’s not all. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, that when we do these good deeds for others, it might lead them to give glory to God. (Matthew 5:16) So let’s show the people around us the love of Jesus through our time, energy, and efforts. May we not just bowl them over with a generous financial gift. Let’s also bowl them over through kind deeds, displaying what it means to “do good, to be rich in good works.”

*This is a fake statistic created for humorous effect. Yeah, I’m not that funny, but it was worth a try…


A Rich Hope

A Rich Hope

by Matt Townsley

Today, we continue our walk through 1 Timothy 6:17-19 by looking at the third phrase in the passage. Here is the passage as a whole:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)

The phrase we will consider today is the warning from Paul not to set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but instead to trust God who richly provides us with everything.  Let’s get started!

Keep Your Eyes on God

The first part of today’s phrase tells us to set our hope on God rather than the uncertainty of riches.  The New Living Translation says Jesus-followers are “not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable.”

As someone nearing the “middle years” of my career, I have been told numerous times to start thinking about finances and life in general, in the long term.  Traditional retirement vehicles such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and Social Security all sound great, but what if the stock market crashes?  What if Social Security is not around by the time I retire?  It all sounds so unreliable. Whether you’ve thought about these long-term financial considerations or are purposefully choosing to ignore them, one thing is for certain: there will be uncertainty! We cannot realistically control the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500, nor can we predict what Social Security will look like 20 years from now. This is why we are to keep our eyes on God rather than the uncertainty of riches. As a matter of practical application, a trusted mentor years ago suggested that I should affix a label to my checkbook (yes, this was well before Venmo!) that reads “God’s money” in order to be reminded of where it all came from. In this same train of thinking, Matthew 6:21 tells us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. No matter what happens to “our” money or other material possessions, we should keep our focus on God!

He will richly provide

A Rich HopeAbout ten years ago, my parents surprised me with a birthday gift: a shiny red toolbox and a ratchet set! I could barely let out a smile or even say “thank you” because I am not a ‘handy’ person and was certain that I would not have any use for these tools. Fast-forward about six months: A small home fix-up job presented itself to which I walked out to the garage, dusted off the toolbox, and for the first time put the tools to use. As you can imagine, I did not fully appreciate these tools until I saw the value in the gift my parents gave me. While I did not know what I needed, my parents did. Likewise, we may miss God’s provision for us, because we are caught up in what we think that we need rather than what He knows is best for us. Philippians 4:19 tells us, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Notice that God provides what we need according to His will. Indeed, we can rest assured that God will richly provide what is best for us, whether we immediately comprehend it or not.

Jesus had full confidence in God, His Father. We, too, should have confidence that God will richly provide for us. In doing so, we can “live like Jesus lived” and live out a spirit of generosity with our finances and other material possessions.  And not just for the 40-days of a “generosity campaign,” but for all our days.

Don’t Be Haughty (from Wealth)

by Erin Bird

Today is Day 5 in our 40-day Generosity Campaign. If you missed the kick-off on Sunday, you can catch up with the sermon on the podcast or website. And if you didn’t get a devotional book yet, you can swing by the building and grab one or download it to your phone by searching your phone’s app store for givewithjoy (one word, no spaces).

In today’s blog post, we are continuing our walk through 1 Timothy 6:17-19 by looking at the second phrase of the passage. Here is the passage as a whole:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)

Don’t Think You’re Better

The phrase we will consider today is the “charge” from Paul to “not be haughty.” Some translations (like the NIV) use the word “arrogant,” while others (like the NASB) use the word “conceited.” But they all convey the same idea. To be haughty, arrogant, or conceited is to think so highly of yourself that you see yourself as better than others.

Unfortunately, this is a reality that has happened in far too many cultures throughout far too many moments in time. When a person’s bank account gets “full,” they often become “full” of themselves.

Don't be haughty from wealth“But Erin, I’m not rich,” you probably want to reply, “therefore, I’m not ‘haughty’. I sure don’t think I’m better than anyone else!” As we saw last week, you may not be “rich” in the eyes of most Americans, but globally and historically, you are quite wealthy. And this wealth may unknowingly (or knowingly!) cause you to think you are better than the poor in Haiti,  the homeless in New York, or even the people living in low-income apartments in Waverly. This means you have fallen into the same thought-trap into which many other rich people have fallen – to think a bit more highly of yourself than you ought.

The Gospel, however, teaches us otherwise. Jesus did not die only for the rich, nor did He die only for the poor. He died for the sins of humans, regardless of income capacity. So the size of your home, or the number of cars you drive, or the net worth of your possessions and financial accounts can’t nor ever will impress God, nor do they make you “better” than anyone else. As the cliché says, the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

Humble Generosity

I want you to also realize another truth: Jesus, God the Son, who knows true wealth and has all wealth (Psalm 24:1) was the humblest person on earth. Despite His possession of all things and all power, He still willingly and humbly went to the cross to die the death He did not deserve to give us the life we do not deserve.

And so because Jesus was the opposite of haughty, and out of his humility gave generously of His very life, may we “live like Jesus lived” and live out generous humility as well. And not just for the 40 days of a “generosity campaign,” but for all our days.

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