Generosity at Mill City
“Generosity is about what God wants for us, not from us”
We believe that generosity is about who God created us to be: people who engage the world with a posture of generosity and who generously give their time, energy, and resources. This is what God wants for us. Generosity is not something God requires from us in order to earn God’s love or salvation or approval
When we ask God to give us a posture of generosity and when we choose to live generously, we are joining in God’s mission of love and restoration—of making wrong things right.
More on what’s behind our perspective on generosity:
God is generous.
We see God’s generosity toward humanity in many ways. At creation, God invites humans to co-work alongside God in caring for the world. Offering us this opportunity is God’s first grand act of generosity! Everything is God’s, and because of God’s generosity, we are given the chance to be stewards of the good things God has created.
The most profound expression of God’s generosity is coming to Earth as a human in the person of Jesus. God’s willingness to give up everything to take the brokenness of the world to the cross, conquer death in resurrection, and then send us the Spirit is the deepest expression of generosity one could imagine.
We are created to be generous & receive generosity.
We are created in God’s image, and one part of “imaging” God is to be generous as God is generous. God wants generosity for us because God made us to be generous—not because God needs anything from us.
It brings joy to God to be generous to us, and as image bearers, we too experience joy when we are generous. We grow and develop as Jesus followers and become more fully who God created us to be when we practice generosity.
Jesus is quoted in Acts 20 saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God wants generosity to be our way of life because it is a blessing to give of oneself to others. Blessing from God is not equated with prosperity, but rather “blessing” is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to live the Way of Jesus in the world.
We are also created to receive God’s generosity towards us, receiving his love and relationship. Additionally, we seek to be humble and receive from the generosity of others—even beyond family and close friends. Choosing to receive reminds us that we are not able to meet our needs ourselves but need God and others to live healthy fruitful lives.
This leads us to our statement:
Generosity is about what God wants for us:
God’s heart is that we are people who trust God with what we have and with what we give reflect the image of God when we are generous with our time, energy, finances, and resources.
Generosity is not what God wants from us:
God doesn’t need anything from us and we are not obligated to be generous in order to earn God’s love or salvation. Rather, we are compelled to be generous because of what God has already done for us!
We view generosity holistically, not merely financially. People who are generous in posture serve others with their time and they make their resources available to those in need.
Generosity is a posture – the attitude in which someone engages the world around them.
Generosity is also an action – orienting schedules, budgets, and priorities around the needs of others, not only the needs of yourself or your family.
Generosity is sacrificial – giving even when it’s uncomfortable, as Jesus modeled sacrifice for us.
The apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth expressing to them God’s heart for generosity when he says,
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-8*
This is not to be understood that God only loves you if you are generous. Again, it shows that joy is what comes when we become genuinely generous people. It is not God’s heart for us to give our time or resources if we are feeling obligated or feeling that we need to be generous to earn God’s affection.
The rest of this passage shows what we see throughout other parts of Scripture. Being generous will mean we need to increase our trust in God. We can trust God to give us what we need—perhaps not always what we want, but what we need to be able to thrive and “abound in every good work” that God sets before us. Holistic generosity is a key way we join in the restorative work of God in the world!
Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 9:11, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
When we live generously, it results in gratitude toward the God who made us and created us to be generous.
At Mill City, our goal is to have 100% participation in financial generosity, at any amount, and 100% participation on ministry teams from our community members.
We have a generosity team at Mill City that anyone can join. The mission of this team is to consider how we can foster the type of generosity discussed above as well as to be wise stewards of our financial and material resources. If you have questions for the team or would like to join the team then you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*This is just one passage about generosity and finances. The Bible has a lot to say about money (see attachment from our Mindful Money class).