Generosity is not an event or an emphasis. There’s no secret sauce or hidden tricks. Generosity is the cultivation of a simple lifestyle and I am not referring to limiting spending, having a family budget, or curtailing an enjoyable life. No coupon clipping here. So how do you cultivate a spiritually generous life that is second nature?
1. Learn to talk to God in prayer
You may be thinking that you already do this. However, I want to encourage you to talk to God in a specific way. Speak back to Him about His generous nature and promises to you. God’s love is generous. His presence is generous. His grace is generous. Scripture teaches us that He desires a prosperous future for our lives and is giving us every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. Confess humbly and powerfully your deep appreciation for His generosity in your life. You have far more than everything you need to live generously. You are overflowing with good stuff that is worth giving.
2. Learn to listen to God in prayer
My experience is that generous people are prepared, sensitive, and alert. They are ready and responsive to needs. Generosity is both planned, cultivated to become second nature, as well as spontaneous. God will always surprise you with new opportunities to be generous with your time, words, heart, and resources. However, if you have not created listening space in your life it will be impossible to live generously. The Bible is full of stories of how God spoke to people and they responded with generosity. Expect God to speak specifically to you about a blessing He has given you that He needs you to pass on to someone else.
3. Fast regularly
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that can be a struggle to accomplish as a lifestyle. I have found it helpful to fast regularly of small things like a meal or form of entertainment for a day to remind me of how important a vibrant relationship with God is. Fasting disconnects you from things that can easily have powerful influences in our lives. The gifts of this world can become the authority of our feelings and source of pleasure quite easily. Fasting not only puts my dependence back on God, but it gives me more committed time for talking and listening in prayer.
4. Live ready
Every day is a new opportunity to both enjoy God’s generosity in your life and extend His generosity to others. Each day create margin in your heart, mind, time, and wallet. You do not have to be rich or debt free to live generously. Everybody can live in 100% fulfillment of God’s generosity dream today. God has nothing in store for you today that He has not already given you the resources for. He has always provided in advance for His people to live generously. Only one of the many examples is the Israelites after having been delivered from slavery built a tabernacle.
If you are not enjoying the fruit of generosity in your life and church, it might just be that you are spending your time focused on the finances and waiting on the future to be different. On another blog we can talk about financial fixes and future plans, but for now I want you to live confidently today. Every leader, person, and church can live generously. It’s a spiritual formation issue far more than a financial resource issue.
Todd McMichen has served for over 30 years in a variety of roles in the local church and within the capital campaign consulting arena. Since 2000, Todd has been a well-established stewardship and generosity campaign coach, as well as a conference leader and speaker. He now gives leadership to Auxano’s generosity team providing unique capital and generosity campaigns throughout the country. He is the author of Leading a Generous Church: Making Disciples without Chasing Money.