What does it mean to be generous? The dictionary defines it as: "characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit: magnanimous, kindly; liberal in giving."1
1 Timothy 6:17-19 17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.2
Most people are casting around looking for real life. Recently I was conversing with a friend who was preparing to join the military. I asked him why he wanted to join. He told me that he was disillusioned with how most people went about life. To him they seemed to be pursuing things and pretending at life. They were like robots that just seemed to go through the motions and didn't seem to be living real lives. I told him that I felt a similar way when I was his age. I wanted to find life, real life. Then I found it in the person of Jesus Christ.
As a follower of Jesus Christ we are to imitate Him, the way He lived and conducted Himself. He was generous; helping, healing, encouraging, being there for people. This is where life is truly found. It is challenging, exciting and energizing to follow Christ and to be involved in helping build the Kingdom of God.
Every summer we spend a week at a cabin on Lake Michigan. On one occasion as we were driving up there we passed by a number of homes owned by wealthy retirees. They worked their whole life and were successful. They made money, achieved positions of prominence, and now are retired. Now the biggest decision facing them is where they are going to play golf or where they are going to eat out. They spend a lot of time walking the beaches collecting sea shells. As John Piper once said in a talk he gave at a Passion Conference, "So when they get to heaven what are they going to say to Jesus, here is my sea shell collection?" These people could be involved in life, real life, by giving of themselves and their resources to help people and spread the gospel to every nation.
So, what are you giving yourself to? What will you be giving yourself to once you are retired?
1 Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
2 1 Timothy 6:17-19, NIV.