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3 Generosity Lessons from Joseph

Do you dread talking about generosity? You’re not alone.

Pastors everywhere avoid the topic. There’s just something “different” about it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Church leaders courageously hit on a number of different topics throughout the year. Covering challenging topics is a must for pastors desiring to teach the Word of God. And generosity is one of these topics.

Covering challenging topics is a must for pastors desiring to teach the Word of God. And generosity is one of these topics.

Today, I want to look at the life of Joseph together. There is so much we can learn from his life but I want to hit on some lesser covered generosity lessons.

You can use these lessons to build off of to create your own generosity sermon, use them to answer givers’ questions, or share them with others to inspire generosity.

The Story

In Genesis 45, we find Joseph, a powerful ruler in Egypt, asking to be alone with his brothers. The last time Joseph saw his brothers, they sold him into slavery. At this point in the story, Joseph’s identity is unknown to his brothers. They only knew the man in front of them as a powerful Egyptian ruler. Soon after Joseph is left alone with his brothers, he reveals his identity and is lavishly generous to them.

In this moment, God uses Joseph to teach us three lessons about generosity.

Lesson #1: Wise stewardship leads to future generosity.

Through a dream, God revealed that, after a season of abundance, a famine would strike the area (Genesis 41). In response, Joseph had the Egyptians save during the season of abundance. This wise stewardship decision allowed Egypt to have provisions during the famine. The decision also gave Joseph the opportunity to bless his brothers. Wise stewardship leads to future generosity.

Wise stewardship leads to future generosity.

Lesson #2: Biblical generosity compels us to give to the undeserving.

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. One can only imagine the pain this caused Joseph. The world would not fault Joseph for withholding good from his brothers. But Joseph did not follow the world. He followed a lavishly generous God. And as a recipient of undeserving generosity, he gives to the undeserving. This is what biblical generosity compels us to do.

Lesson #3: God uses our generosity in ways we could never fathom.

Joseph’s generosity sustains his family. But the impact of his generosity does not end there. His generosity did not just sustain his immediate family, his generosity sustained a nation and a lineage from which Jesus would come. You see, our God is a God of multiplication. He takes our generosity and multiplies its impact in ways we could never fathom. Joseph certainly did not know the ultimate impact of his generosity. And when we give, we have no idea how God will use the gift to further His Kingdom.

Our God is a God of multiplication. He takes our generosity and multiplies its impact in ways we could never fathom.

 

God teaches us and our churches some important generosity lessons through the life of Joseph. This story encourages us to set ourselves up for future generosity by wisely stewarding our resources today. We are recipients of undeserving generosity, so let us give to the undeserving. And we can trust that our God will use the gifts we give in unfathomable ways.

Art Rainer
Art Rainer

Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He writes and speaks widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity, and is the author of The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design for You and Your Money. Art lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.

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