How to Live the Generous Life

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SUMMARY

This week we’re talking about GENEROSITY. We could speak forever on this topic, but unless we actually take action, it’s all talk.

People who are just surviving life tend to hold on tightly to their money and possessions. People who are thriving and overflowing in life, pour their possessions and themselves onto others, expecting nothing in return.

This is what Jesus means when he says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The person who lives the abundant life that Jesus talks about “lays down his life for the sheep… in order to take it up again” (John 10:11-17).

They pour out their time, their talents, and their treasure on other people—they live the generous life.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Radical generosity can be extremely difficult. As an only child, I haven’t always had the easiest time accepting this truth. I thought I was the center of the universe and everything revolved around me. It wasn’t until I started to read the Bible seriously that I got a grip on the fact that our wealth is not our own. And that riches lead us into temptation and harmful desires.1

The Bible talks a lot about money. In fact, around half of Jesus’ teaching revolve around this topic. In short, He teaches us:

  • Our life and our treasure belongs to God.2
  • We should use God’s gifts to help others and fulfill His purpose.3
  • The real treasures are in heaven, “where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”4
  • God’s purpose is the soul, not the storehouse. Salvation is gained through Jesus Christ and serving the poor, the weak, and the needy.

A photo posted by Todd Phillips (@todphil) on

The Bible teaches us that there is more to life than money, fame, and fancy cars. True joy and abundance comes from the heart. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).

We can talk about it all day long, but when we begin to really live the generous life, when we begin to really pour out onto others expecting nothing in return, that’s when it gets really amazing. That’s when it starts to become the abundant life that God tells us in his Word that we can all experience.

Those who live the generous life are happier, healthier, and less stressed. Money can buy happiness… when you spend it on others.

We know this from the Bible and our own experiences, but some of us don’t truly believe it. Our society teaches us that happiness comes from more money, new things, and big vacations. Just turn on the TV and watch a few commercials. This alternative story of happiness often overshadows the teachings of Christ. But, it turns out that those lessons are true—when we give, we receive much more than we could ever buy.

Can You Buy Happiness?

Watch this TED talk to learn about some fascinating research on money and happiness, life and abundance.

Give, and it will be given to you.5

Most people spend their entire lives holding tightly to their possessions, holding tightly to their money, holding tightly to their time. And they’re so stressed out, they’re so focused on holding onto that stuff, that they’re not able to see and hear all the magnificent things that God is doing around them. Learn How Not to Worry and Love God.

Here’s your challenge:

Don’t just do your one good deed for the day and then return to your me-first life. Living the generous life means every day, all day. Stop thinking of yourself as the center of the universe. Transcend your ego-bound existence and step into the abundant life that God promises. Try it out. Let me know how it feels.

TRANSFORM AN ENTIRE VILLAGE

1 Timothy 6:9-10
1 Chronicles 29:11-14
Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 12:13-21
Luke 12:33-34
5 Luke 6:38

TRANSCRIPT

Hey, this is Todd Phillips, your online pastor and high performance coach. I want to talk today about a subject that is challenging for a lot of us, myself included, and it’s living the generous life. It’s the subject of generosity.

People that are just surviving in life have a mentality, and I’ve seen this so many times, of holding tightly to their possessions, of holding onto their time, of holding onto their money and possessions, holding onto who they are instead of pouring that out onto others.

And yet, people who really thrive in life, people who live the abundant life that Jesus talks about in John chapter 10, verse 10, they do the opposite. They pour themselves out indiscriminately on people around them, knowing that God will fill them up to overflowing, that’s what the Bible says. So that they could pour out of themselves, their time, their talents, and their treasure on other people, expecting absolutely nothing in return. They live a generous life. So how do they do that?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today. And I want to say this before we go any further—this is a struggle for me. I grew up as an only child. I learned how to play with my toys just fine on my own. I was convinced for the first half of my life that I really was the center of the universe and everything kind of rotated around me. And it wasn’t until I met Christ at the age of 24 that I started to get a grip on the fact that that wasn’t the case.

But living a generous life is a challenge. We can talk about it all day long, but when we begin to really live the generous life, when we begin to really pour out onto others expecting nothing in return, that’s when it gets really amazing. That’s when it starts to become the abundant life that God tells us in his Word that we can all experience.

So, do you really want to know the difference between living a life where you’re just surviving and just keeping your head above water and then, the difference between that and living an abundant life, where you’re really swimming on top of everything and you’re just living something LARGE. It’s this idea of generosity.

So, I’m going to ask you to do something over the next few minutes as we spend time together. And if you don’t do it, you’re going to miss out on a really, really, really cool thing for you—something you’re really going to be able to take with you today.

So, what I’m going to ask you to do is, I’m going to ask you to take your fists right now, and I’m going to do it with one hand because I’m going to be messing with my computer, but take your fists, both of them together, and I want you to hold them real tightly. Alright, now you’re going to have to do this for the next 60, 70, 80 seconds. I’m just telling you that in advance.

Hold it real tight and just when you think you’re tight enough, I want you to squeeze it just a little bit more right now. And I’m going to keep doing that with this fist as we go through this process. Keep your fists held tightly together.

I want to read you this chapter, this verse out of Luke. And it’s a passage that talks about generosity. Keep squeezing.

This is what it says:

“Give and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to use.”¹

Keep these fists tight. Look, it’s very important to understand what this isn’t saying. This isn’t saying that if you give $10, and this is what you hear a bunch of televangelists tell you, if you give $10, you’ll get $10 back or you’ll get $100 back. That’s not what this is saying.

What it is saying is that we simply cannot outgive God. Keep squeezing.

You can’t outgive God. We may give $10 and God may bless us with a priceless sense of joy. We may give 10 hours of our time a week serving other people, and in response to that, God may bless us with the priceless level of wisdom and insight. We may give clothing to an inner city group and God will store for us treasures in heaven.

You still squeezing? Don’t let go.

Jesus speaks directly to this in Matthew 6:19-21. He says this:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but store for yourselves treasures in heaven where moths and vermin don’t destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

We simply cannot outgive God and He is always going to bless us when we pour out to others. Have you been squeezing? What I want you to do is squeeze tighter still. You ready?

Now, let go.

Just let go completely.

How does that feel? How does it feel?

Do you feel all the tension, the stress, of focusing in on holding those fists tightly? I bet you missed most of what I just said. Why?

Because you were so focused on keeping your fists tight. And then, and then when you let go, all that stress was gone. It just felt good to let go.

And now, and now you can hear me. And now, you’re focused on the words. And now, we’re spending time together again. You know why? Because you let go. And you’re able to focus on the things that matter.

Listen, most people spend their entire lives holding tightly to their possessions, holding tightly to their money, holding tightly to their time. And they’re so stressed out, they’re so focused on holding onto that stuff, that they’re not able to see and hear all the magnificent things that God is doing around them.

So, the next time you have an opportunity to give, the next time you have an opportunity to be generous, to give of your time or to give of your money, whatever that might be, just remember this time that we spent together and remember how it felt to hold tightly. And take that opportunity to hold loosely—to open your hands and just to pour yourself out. It will transform your lives.

Until we talk again, Live Passionately, Give Generously, and Impact This World for God.

[after video]

Hey, it’s Todd. Did you get something out the video you just watched? I really hope you did.

I mean, that’s my passionto give you something that can be applied rightly to your life, right now.

Listen, if that happened, I want you to go right here, and just click on this subscription, this subscribe button, and it’ll take you straight to the page, and you can subscribe to my blog and get this content coming to your inbox every week.

I hope you’ll let me do that. I hope you’ll allow us to be on this journey together. See you soon!

¹Luke 6:38


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