In Acts 20:35, Paul writes, “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
As a church leader, you desire for your members to understand and experience the joy of giving. You are not wanting something from them, but you are wanting something for them. Certainly, you know the difference generosity can make on the church budget, but you want them to see the difference generosity can make in their own lives. You want them to see how “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” You want to see a church filled with generous disciples of Christ.
But how can you teach about the joy of giving? Here are some suggestions to get you started:
1. Dive into the Scriptures that deal with generosity.
This one is obvious—helping others understand the joy of giving starts with understanding the Bible. Biblical generosity begins with knowing we are recipients of the greatest gift ever given, a gift that turns death into life—Jesus. This, in turn, should propel us to live and give generously. We give because we have been so undeservedly given to.
Of course, Scripture is filled with stories of generosity—the widow who gave two coins, the Macedonians, the boy who gave two fish and five loaves of bread, Joseph and his brothers, the three women in Luke 8:1-3, the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50. Illustrations of biblical generosity abound in Scripture. Select one and dive into it. Explain what God wants us to learn from the story, and point toward the gift of God’s one and only Son.
2. Encourage members to reflect on past generosity.
Have members recall a time when they used their resources for something bigger than themselves. Maybe they gave to a homeless shelter. Maybe they provided funds for an orphanage. Maybe they provided a shoe box, filled with items for a child in another country.
Then, ask how they feel about the act of generosity—not just the feeling when the act occurred but how they feel now. For most, remembering an act of generosity can still produce a sense of happiness and satisfaction. There is a lasting joy in generosity. Generosity produces a joy that persists far longer than any self-focused purchase. Purchasing a new toaster won’t generate the joy that providing backpacks and school supplies will. God has designed us for generosity. Help your members see this by reflecting on past generosity.
3. Show that generosity is an act of worship, not just a transfer of funds from one bank account to the another.
God doesn’t need our resources. God isn’t sitting on the throne, anxiously waiting on our generosity so He can use those resources to accomplish His mission. God is not wanting because He already owns all things. He owns cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). God is simply entrusting us with His resources.
Generosity is not a transaction; generosity is an act of worship.
Generosity is not a transaction; generosity is an act of worship. When we give, we are not simply making a transaction, moving funds from one bank account to the next. Giving demonstrates our thankfulness for God’s past provision and our reliance on His future provision. Giving showcases our trust in God and His promises. Teach your church that generosity is an act of worship.
4. Point them toward the eternal impact made by generous living.
Randy Alcorn said, “Giving is a giant lever, positioned at the fulcrum of this world, allowing us to move mountains in the next world. Because we give, eternity will be different—for others and for us.” Generosity is an act of worship, but generosity also allows us to join God and His mission to see every tongue, tribe, and nation reached with the gospel.
Cultivate joyous giving by helping your church understand the eternal impact their generosity makes. Tell them the stories of life change of which their generosity is a part. Did a broken marriage reconcile? Tell them. Did a wayward son turn to Christ? Tell them. Did the hungry receive food? Tell them. Did a church get planted? Tell them. Did a missionary get sent to an unreached people group? Tell them. Help them see the eternal impact their giving makes.
5. Share a personal generosity story.
Your church needs to know the joy of giving is not just academic but personal. What was your favorite act of generosity? Tell the church your own story. Let them see the smile come across your face. Let them hear the excitement in your voice. Let them see the passion in your eyes. Your church needs to know you are in this with them, you are not asking them to go somewhere you have not been. Let them observe the joy of generosity in your own life.
6. Give them the opportunity to put generosity teachings into action.
When it comes to helping your members understand the joy of generosity, experience is a great teacher. Point out opportunities for those in your church to put generosity teachings into action. Certainly, general church giving would be one of those opportunities. But also point out specific church or community efforts in which they could financially and physically participate. Does your church have a prison ministry? Does your church have a homeless ministry? Is there an upcoming effort, like filling shoeboxes with gifts for children in needy situations around the globe? If so, encourage participation in these ministries. Help them experience the joy of generosity firsthand.
A church filled with generous disciples does not occur by accident. Teach your members about the joy of generosity and give them the opportunity to put those teachings into action. Help your members experience firsthand that Jesus’ words are true—“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”