It would be a good idea if we would get straight the difference between a generous deed and a generous person. The two are not the same. Do you want to be a truly generous person in a deep-down spiritual sort of way? Or would you prefer to be one who simply does generous deeds?
Anyone among us knows how to engage an occasional spasm of kindness or a sudden act of charity. It feels good to give pieces of our lives away. But what value is there in giving morsels of life away if this generosity does not transform our lives from the inside out? If my giving does not deeply impact my life, it’s really discretionary giving more than anything else.
Discretionary giving may be great, but it hardly changes the world, or more importantly, my life. From all we can tell, Jesus never dropped a hint that his life, death, and resurrection would (in and of themselves) change the world. He left plenty of hints that these events ought to change his followers, who, in turn, have the responsibility of changing the world.
This message is adapted from “All She Had” written by Peter W. Marty in the March 2012 issue of Gather magazine.