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Our Generous God

August 1, 2018

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

This one-sentence verse, John 3:16, is the centerpiece of what we call "the good news" or the gospel.  It is foundational to our faith and the classic expression of God's saving plan for all humankind.  Out of His loving heart God gave His Son, Jesus, and all who believe in Him receive the gift of eternal life.

While we can debate whether this verse is an extension of the conversation that Jesus was having with the teacher of the Law, Nicodemus, or is this the writer's (John) commentary on that conversation, what we decide is not as important as what we decide about the truth conveyed in the verse.  Is it the best expression of God's character and love for the world, or is it just one more verse among many that reflect something about God?  When we believe it is the deepest expression of God's salvation plan, in spite of it being so simple, it becomes the life changing truth that believers through the two hundred centuries since Christ have universally accepted and proclaimed.

We at MB Foundation also believe this verse has a great deal to do with generosity.  Gordon MacDonald, writing in his book, Generosity, puts it this way:  "If we wish to become generous givers, then we must know this Scripture (John 3:16) intimately.  It reminds us that God does not ask of us anything that He has not first done for us.  God is the first generous giver.  He has provided the highest model of generosity, and He calls for Biblical people to follow."

I challenge you with the idea that to give is to be godly (God-like).  Some would even go so far as to say that, in light of John 3:16, we are most like God when we give.  You see, the true goal of being generous is not that the church will prosper, the budget will be reached or raised, or that the building will get built.  The goal of generosity is not that I will, in the end, be blessed because I have pleased God.  The ultimate goal of generosity is transformation of the individual.

Does that help you see the connection between giving and being like God?  The deeper our transformation the closer we move to being like God in character, in thought, and in action.  Transformation is never skin deep or outward; transformation is from the inside out.  It begins and grows from the heart, a heart that is becoming more like our Savior.  Yes, we look most like God when we are generous; when we give.

This devotional is excerpted from Day 7 in our new Seven-Day Generosity Challenge Devotional.  Day 7 is authored by Dennis Fast and the other 6 days are written by Christians from around the world!  Check out the church resources available to accompany the devotional by visiting here.  If you'd like an electronic copy of the devotional, you may download it here.  For a hard copy, send a request to us by using this  order form.  Thank you for your interest in generosity and stewardship.  Please encourage your church to consider using these helpful resources.

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