The often-overlooked key to living larger is a vital component of a vibrant life. It is the counter to the human tendency to selfish living and negativity. This key is called generosity.
The central evidence of love is always giving. God so loved the world that he gave (John 3:16). To love others is to be willing to bless them, to see them prosper, to help them without regard to personal compensation or return.
The prophet Isaiah said this about generosity:
“The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil.Generosity makes a man solid. Generosity is an outward manifestation of an inner character, one that is humble and unselfish. Generous men are stable men. When the storms of life hit a generous man, he has a firm foundation.
They plot crooked schemes.
They lie to convict the poor,
even when the cause of the poor is just.
But generous people plan to do what is generous,
and they stand firm in their generosity.”(Isaiah 32:7 NLT)
A great picture of how generosity works is found in 2 Kings 4:1-7. The prophet Elisha was mentoring a group of understudy prophets. One died, leaving a widow and two sons. The deceased man’s name isn’t given in the biblical account. He was just “one of the guys.”
One day, the man’s widow came to Elisha with a huge problem. Her creditors were coming to foreclose on her home and—in the manner of those days—to take her boys into forced labor to pay off the debts. They could possibly spend years in slave labor.
She said, “They are coming soon to take my boys and my house. What can I do?”
Elisha responded by asking a curious thing: “What do you have in your house?” She replied, “Nothing…except for a flask of oil.”
First note: we always have something. God can use any something you have. We think we have nothing. He takes the something we think is nothing and produces life.
Elisha said, “Borrow as many jars as you can, then go into your house and shut the door. Pour the olive oil into the jars until they are all full. Keep pouring.” Olive oil was a valuable commodity in that era. This was a financial strategy.
She did as he said. Her sons went around the village and borrowed as many jars as people would lend. This is a Middle Eastern village around 850 BC. Jars are what everyone used. It’s like trying to find plastic baggies in your neighborhood. The village is full of them.
Then the widow began to pour oil from the flask and…it didn’t stop. Jar after jar was filled. The boys ran from home to home and brought more jars. Then suddenly, she looked around and said, “Are there no more jars?” Her sons replied, “There are no more jars we can borrow.” And the oil stopped flowing.
When the people stopped giving, the oil stopped flowing.
Oil is often a biblical symbol of God’s presence. When the oil was flowing, it was symbolic of God’s generous nature. David and others were anointed with oil at pivotal times for specific tasks. Today we sometimes anoint people with oil to ask God to release His presence in their lives or situation. It is a symbolic gesture of the very real expression of God’s loving and generous heart.
I have met many generous men. Generosity builds a strong foundation for their lives, their careers, and for their family. The anointing of God flows in their lives. When I think of this widow’s sons not finding more jars, I think of my generous friends. They would have given their jars and would have helped those boys find more jars. Because that’s what generous people do. Generous people help people, and the oil of God’s presence flows….
I encourage you to seal what God is stirring in your heart as you read this. Launch 2019 by launching generosity. Give big, give small, give here, give somewhere, just launch 2019 BIG. Here’s a link to give a gift today to help us reach more men.
Build a strong foundation for your life, be covered with the oil of His presence—be a generous man. Whatever you do, just GIVE.