What is the most generous act you’ve ever experienced? Take a minute to recall and remember as many moments as possible that generosity was demonstrated towards you. Write down the names of the top five most generous people in your lives.
It’s not difficult to recall those times and people in our lives that demonstrated irrational generosity. Parents, teachers, pastors, friends, spouses, children, etc. We remember them and those precious moments because irrational generosity tattoos our hearts in a profound way. The idea I would like to present here is this: What you receive from someone else’s generosity is strengthening, but what you receive from your own irrational generosity is unstoppable. Like a freight train filled with fuel, so our lives begin to take on an unstoppable element when irrational generosity pours from our lives. Jesus said it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Most of the time we think he’s talking about money, but I think he’s talking about more than just money. I think he’s talking about our time and talent as well as our treasure.
If we take a close look at our lives, we see that there exists a great battle over our talent, time, and treasure. These three areas are a war objective for the kingdom of darkness. The system of the world wants to define our talent (use it to promote self), our time (use it without structure), and our treasure (use it to store up more for ourselves). Make no mistake about it, the greatest questions you will ever answer are surrounding these three realities. Who does your talent promote? How is your time structured? Where are you investing your money?
Our three greatest opportunities while living on Earth are found in response to these questions. Ephesians 5:15 says “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time (opportunities) because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Time is supreme. Like the frame that holds the painting, our time becomes the pre-eminent question. The art of our talent and treasure, in many ways, hang inside the frame of time. If we do not handle well our schedules, we will never be able to capitalize on our opportunities. To say it simply: the ordinary makes way for opportunity.
The early disciples found generosity to be a part of their daily lives. They knew the importance of time. Notice the factor of how they “devoted” or decided to invest their time in a structured fashion.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
We can take much for granted in reading this too quickly. The devotion of their time was key to their journey as a disciple. Through childlike faith and obedience, they did the same things, day in and day out. Did it take sacrifice? Yes! Did the people preparing the meals get tired and bored with cooking and cleaning up after meals each day? No question. Did they have to miss out on other opportunities to make sure they were at the temple each day? Of course. Did they feel the pull of greed when giving away or selling something of value. You better believe it. Humans were the ones involved in the early church and they were just like the humans that live now. We all, as humans, are greedy, selfish, and hard-headed. However because of the structure of their time, they established a culture where talent and treasure could be shared for the good of all.
Consider carefully the outcome of the devotion of the early disciples: “…they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Not only were they living with glad hearts full of praise, but they had favor with those around them and the Lord worked in mighty ways on a daily basis. Their irrational generosity generated unstoppable joy, favor, and Godly harvest.
What about you? Have you structured your time so that you may devote yourself to the Lord? Are you using your talents to promote the Kingdom of God? Are you investing your money where God is at work? In short, are you giving of your time, talents, and treasure in an irrationally generous way? What you receive from your own irrational generosity will be unstoppable.