Generosity Changes Everything—An Overview—Part 1

GIVE - Generosity Changes Everything - Part 1

by David Hazzard

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:11).

Generosity gets God’s attention. Just as we are captivated by certain attractions—a special treasure in an antique store, a fresh fashion design, or a particular vehicle—God notices generosity—of any kind. Is it any wonder that Scripture is replete with accounts of those who freely gave to God and to others? Consistently the Bible reinforces the value of generosity in the Lord’s system of what is really important.


Consider the experience of Cornelius, the devout and God-fearing but “unclean” Roman centurion. While on assignment in Caesarea and responsible for the Italian regiment stationed there, he “gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2). One mid-afternoon, he received a visit from an angel, also on assignment, with a special message from the Lord. The angel shared that “God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor” (Acts 10:31). This humble man’s expressions of charity were not only remembered and recounted by the Lord, but Luke was directed to record his generosity in Scripture. Make no mistake; God takes special note of every act of generosity.


Scripture repeatedly affirms and encourages both openheartedness and openhandedness. The account of Joseph in Egypt, references of goodwill throughout the book of Proverbs, the parable of the Good Samaritan, and even a nameless widow in Jerusalem during Jesus’ day all encourage generosity. In fact, Scripture illustrates that everyone can embrace generosity, and in a variety of creative ways. Equal opportunity is openly available in the noble work of charity and kindness. Generosity is only partially determined by the actual value of the gift; what matters more is what is retained by the giver. The widow who freely gave her two mites—everything she owned at the time—will forever remain the gold medalist in the category of generosity.


We live in a world that desperately needs the change that only an increase in generosity and kindness can produce. Obviously, the reality of financial hardship experienced by so many invites greater expressions of financial generosity. But other equally important expressions of generosity also address areas of lack that are just as real and debilitating. Someone with diminished dignity or worth can be significantly encouraged by another’s expression of genuine appreciation. Another who may be in a season of prolonged loneliness can be buoyed by the generous gifts of love, joy and laughter. Nagging questions of guilt and unworthiness can be answered with generous forgiveness and grace. And so we are encouraged as believers to overflow in gratitude, in kindness, in affection and in blessing one another, so that generosity becomes a comprehensive and influential lifestyle rather than merely a component of our lives.

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Read the second part of the chapter here. This article is an excerpt of a chapter that appeared in Generosity Changes Everything – Even Us (Mississauga, ON: The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, January 2014), 11-13. © 2014 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. David Hazzard is the executive secretary of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. To order this book, click here or call 905-542-7400 ext. 3223. Photo © istockphoto.com.

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