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The richness of generosity

You don’t get rich by giving your wealth away—you get rich by investing your money wisely. Holding onto your money doesn’t tend to grow it, but investing wisely does. Jesus even teaches that God wants us to steward our money well by investing it for a good return (Matt. 25:14–30). So how do we be generous with our wealth and the gifts that have been given to us?

We can only be generous if we have the right view of the giver of our gifts and a reality of the true ownership of our wealth. There are three predominant views that are held among us when it comes to our wealth:

View #1: It’s all mine

This is when our wealth is ours and it is to be done with as we please with no thought beyond what is best for us. This, one would hope, is not the view you will find among most Christians.

View #2: We own the franchise

This is predominant among the majority of Christians, and it is the franchise view. Outwardly we believe that what we have is ultimately God’s—it has his name stamped on it. In some way, the credit may be given to God, but in reality, we do with our wealth what we wish and anything that comes from our wealth we use for our own ends. We treat our wealth like a franchise we own. It’s got God’s name on it, but we really are the owners.

View #3: God owns it all

I believe this view to be the truly biblical view of our wealth and the reality. And it starts with God.

God is supremely pre-eminent, the Creator and sustainer of all things, and he is the only being who controls all resources, including your wealth. God is ultimately the one who owns your wealth. This begs the question, “What has he given me wealth for?” With all the gifts and blessings he gives us, we are called to reflect him and his character to the world. We use our God-given gifts to show the world what he is like. The wealth God has given us has been entrusted to us to be used to show God’s character.

We know a lot about God as he is revealed in Scripture. John 3:16 tells us, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.” God is a generous God, so we as his people can be a generous people. Jesus gave his life for us so we might have life—he poured himself out, giving everything and held nothing back.

If God ultimately has control of 100% of the resources and has blessed you with some of them to show his character, and his character is supremely generous, then we should be a supremely generous people. Because Jesus gave everything for us, we can be generous.

Ryan Williams is the lead pastor of the Everett church.

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