You run into it everyday. There are things you have to do and things you get to do. I know some people like to turn all the have to’s into get to’s but it never works out for me. For example, today I have to clean the house. And this weekend I have to mow the lawn. Tonight though, I get to go on a date with my wife. No matter what kind of positive spin you try to put on it, nothing is going to move cleaning and mowing into the same category as date night. It doesn’t work like that.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the lawn and house I have. I will mow and clean without whining about it. But these are things I never feel like doing. I simply do them because they need done.
Last week I said being generous was about having the right perspective. What is your perspective on generosity? Is it a get to or a have to? Is it something you feel like doing, or something you just have to take care of, if you do it at all?
If you read Acts 4:36-5:11 you will two stories of giving. One came from a desire, the other from an obligation. Barnabas sold a field and gave the money to those in need. Why? Apparently, like so many others were doing, he wanted to help. Ananias and Sapphira also sold a field and gave the money to those in need. Why? It seems they either wanted to be seen as spiritual, or were afraid they would be seen as unspiritual if they didn’t, or because they were just greedy. Either way they did it because they felt like they had to.
See the difference. When we give out of obligation it is cold, measured, and calculating. We ask “how little can I get by with?” That isn’t generosity at all. Only when we give because we have a desire to meet a need, fill a void, provide for someone, do we start to be generous.
So how do we go from have to to get to? Think about this. The whole earth is the Lord’s; but just like in the book of Acts, God has chosen to entrust parts of it, the stuff we have, to us. He could use any method he wanted to meet the needs of the world. And, just like in the early church, he has chosen to use us, his church, to be His hands and feet around the world. Why be generous? Why give away our stuff, time, and money? Because God has chosen us to impact the world. He wants to use us to build His kingdom. I don’t understand why, but I know I am excited to be apart of it. Which makes being generous something I get to do.