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The Genius of Generosity - How Does God Measure Generosity?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2023 5:00 am

The Genius of Generosity - How Does God Measure Generosity?, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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January 3, 2023 5:00 am

What is God looking for from you when it comes to being generous? Join Chip as he explores the answer to that question in this message from his series "The Genius of Generosity."


Let me ask you a question. If God didn't even take into account anything to do with money, how generous are you from His perspective? Are there other ways that He measures generosity that might be even way more important than money?

And let me give you a hint. The answer's yes. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. Thanks for joining us today as we near the end of our series, The Genius of Generosity. For these last couple of programs, Chip's going to explain how to measure your generosity and unpack the steps we can take to move beyond just good intentions to an authentic, generous life. But before we begin, if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge or you want to learn more about what we do, go to You'll find tons of resources there on a wide range of topics and countless programs for you to enjoy. Or if you prefer, the Chip Ingram app is also a great way to get plugged in with our ministry.

Well, with all that said, let's join Chip now for his talk. So how does God measure generosity? Well, Jesus has a way of taking what we believe and what we think and how we evaluate and literally turning it upside down. And the way he does that is to bring life and is to bring freedom, but we just get used to seeing things and evaluating things in ways that are very, very subtle but lead us down paths that ruin relationships, that hurt people.

In fact, the word miser comes from the root word for miserable. Miserly, non-generous people are miserable. And yet there's something when we think about generosity, when we self-evaluate, we say, oh yeah, I think I'm pretty generous.

This series is not about money. This series is about generosity and being smart, about living your life in a way that brings about the highest and best results for you and the greatest glory for God. So Jesus has a teachable moment with his disciples. There's a treasury over there. It's outside the temple. People are coming and dropping large gifts in it. And a woman comes by and drops something very small. And Jesus stops everyone and says, wait a second.

Don't miss this moment. Luke chapter 21 verses 1 to 4 pick up the story. As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. And by the way, I think it was very thankful.

I think when he gives people a lot and they're giving gifts, I think it brings great joy to his heart. There's not a good person and a bad person in this story. There's a comparison. He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And so he's looking at the balance, some very, very large gifts, two small copper coins. Then notice what he does.

I tell you the truth. This poor widow has put in more than all the others. And then he gives the explanation because I don't know about you, but that's not good math.

Right? I mean, a lot of money versus two small copper coins, they physically gave more, but according to Jesus, she gave more. And then he tells us why. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

Now, the breakthrough concept here, I put it right up front in the notes. This is how God measures generosity. God measures generosity not by the size of the gift, but by the size of the sacrifice. What he was saying was that it cost her more to put in two small copper coins than it cost them.

Why? Because it impacted her lifestyle. She basically had the faith to believe and had a heart to say, I love you God. By the way, when we give, that's the message.

This isn't a performance. When we give to God, it's an act of love. And this woman said, I don't have hardly anything left, but I want to give what I have and I believe and I trust that once I've given all that I have to live on, that the God that I serve is kind and generous and powerful and he's going to meet my needs.

See, when Jesus sees sacrifice that impacts our lifestyle, what he sees is a heart of love. And that's why he said she was more generous. I actually taught this at a conference once and it was one of those like four days conferences where you get four or five messages and on the very first day of the conference I told people, I want you to know, even the title, Genius of Generosity, it's really not about money.

And you know how you're in a line at the buffet at one of those afterwards and I hear these two people talking and they're kind of leaning one over to the other and didn't know I was behind them. Well, you know, this guy says it's not about money, but generosity, you know where this thing's going, right? And it was really interesting when I got done with this message at the very end, that lady came up to me.

She didn't know I ever heard it. She said, you know, when you said that this wasn't about money, I thought, yeah, right? She said, when you finish this on how God measures generosity, she goes, it's really not about money, is it?

I said, ma'am, it's really not. It's really about heart. It's about life. It's about how smart people live who understand who God is and want the highest and best for their life and for others and to honor Him and not waste their life. See, the whole point of generosity, I mean, you know this intellectually, God really doesn't need your money.

He owns everything. But steps of generosity are a part of His plan so that intimacy and relationship with Him can increase. And the only way that intimacy ever happens with God is this mechanism called faith. The conduit of relationship with God is not knowledge. Knowledge puffs up. Love edifies. The conduit is faith.

You can have knowledge and never put it into action. But when I believe what God says to the point that I trust and I act, I respond to light and He gives more light and the relationship and the intimacy. So one, not all, but one of the primary ways as He develops intimacy is by teaching me to be like Him, to trust that God is who He said He is, that His word is really true, that when I give my money or my time or we'll see our reputation, our future or even my life or the most precious thing that I deem precious to me, when by faith I say, Lord, it's all yours and it's available whenever, however you want, it cultivates this amazing thing where the love of God gets deposited in you and it overflows into relationships. I was thinking about this whole area of generosity.

It was the sort of the background for this book several years ago. And as I was thinking about generosity, it was just sitting at my desk and Christmas is a tough time for pastors on messages, okay? Because have you ever heard this story before? I mean, right. I mean, you're like, okay, let's go to church. Okay, let's see, there's magi, we got shepherds, we got Mary, we got Joseph, we got the manger. I mean, what am I going to say?

And I was thinking about generosity and, you know, sometimes I just put my feet up on my desk and had a good cup of coffee and I just sort of mentally thought about, Lord, I don't know why this question came. Why did you come to this planet the way you decided to come? And why did you introduce us to the very characters? I mean, the Christmas story is very interesting where you have these probably Persian or Babylonian studies of the stars who see a star probably 18 to 24 months before the baby was actually born. They see it and they go on a journey. And then you have these low life kind of actually sort of the disenfranchised social group of shepherds, they get in the story. And then you have a teenage girl, Mary, probably 15, 16 years old and a blue collar worker who's betrothed to her. Well, they become a big part of the story and then pretty soon you have angels involved. And I just started thinking about and I just laid the story out.

And as I did, I thought, it's a graduate level. Each step of each person introduced into the story all the way to Jesus and God the Father is a snapshot of what the Bible teaches about the heart of God and generosity. Now, normally I would have you get in those Bibles and follow passage to passage with me, but I want you to listen through the story through the lens of generosity. We pick it up where far beyond money the magi come and that's what they give. On coming to the house, they followed the star for almost two years and they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and they worshiped him.

Then they opened their treasuries and they presented him with gifts of gold and incense and of myrrh. And so the first people in the story are people that they literally get the least revelation, right? I mean, it's not an angel. It's just a star. They've studied the stars. They've done some research. They follow it. It lands over Bethlehem.

Here's a couple. They know the stars about the King of the Jews. They inquire about the King of the Jews. They see the child and they give and they give money.

It's great. Lots of good reasons and they're generous. They want a war and it's an act of worship. Notice it didn't say they get it says they worshiped him. Like David said, I will not worship God with anything that costs me nothing. There's a sacrifice.

We want to honor him. But here's the catch. When you get generosity just in the financial realm, you can give and not be generous. You can give regularly, systematically, the first fruit and not be generous. I got an interesting email.

Someone boldly went online because I asked you to kind of tell me your story and she wrote, the last few sermons have been very convicting. It says, but when you talked last week and you said everyone thinks they're generous, I knew in my heart that I was not a generous person. Oh, my husband and I, we give regularly to the church and when you went through those steps about giving the first and the best and systematically and proportionally, we do all that. But I knew at the personal level in my heart there still existed the greed of a child looking at a birthday cake, always wanting the biggest piece and the best one. This showed up often anytime our money was at risk and especially when people showed up at my door and asked me for things. It's kind of like the boxes we play in, generosity, give first, got that done.

Then you missed the point. Generosity is an issue of the heart always tied to relationships and it's a sense of how do I love people. And so the email is pretty long and she goes on and says basically, Lord, I believe now that you really do own everything and even my own kind of personal money and these people that sort of irritate me when they come to the door and want me to give them something and I just want you to know that I want to learn to become generous. So she actually prays and says send someone to my door and I want to give to them. And so of course God answers those prayers pretty quickly and she was at the door right in the middle of dinner and had a ministry meeting that night, had to be there by seven o'clock, the door knocks and she comes and here's someone from Teen Challenge. It's a Christian group that does drug rehab and she looked at him and her supper's there, everybody's eating, she's got to go.

All the things that make you want to be what? Non-generous. And she remembered her prayer. She listened to their story and then the little girl said, I just want to thank you for listening to us.

It's kind of like we've gone door to door and it's not going real well. And she said, well actually you're an answer to my prayer. She goes, our pastor's talking about generosity and I prayed God would send someone to my door today that I could give to and she goes, I gave to her and she goes, wow, you're going to go on the top of our ministry report and here's what I want you to get.

The end of the email says, joy welled up in my heart. I went back, I had only five minutes to eat my dinner. I ate my dinner in five minutes.

Everyone had already eaten theirs. I was going to be a little late for the meeting. I was a little late for the meeting but my countenance and my heart and my joy, who showed up to that meeting was a different person.

Do you see the difference between just giving your money and being generous? Now what I want you to see in the Christmas story is I think God introduces us to the magi. They know him the least and they get the least clear revelation but they respond to what they know. But after they respond to that, the next group is the shepherds.

And you know the story of the shepherds, right? The sky lights up. It's a chorus. I mean they're singing. Can you imagine, I mean you're just sort of a regular guy. You're out on the job. Hey Bob, it's your turn. It's the night watch.

Oh, okay, you know. It's kind of the middle of the night and then whoom, right? The sky lights up and they're singing and you're going, what's this about? We pick up the story. It says, when the angels had left them and went into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, let's go. Leave work? Yeah, let's go.

Where? To Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and they found Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger. And when they had seen him, they didn't just worship by giving a gift.

They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. These shepherds probably didn't have anything to give. They didn't have any money to give. I mean these are people that are like way below our welfare. I mean they just had subsistence living. They couldn't get into good restaurants. They smelled.

They had a bath once every month, whether they needed it or not. And God chose to reveal the child to them and then notice they got a story because they went around and they were the first evangelists, were the first people to say, the Messiah has come and we've seen him. And so the Magi were generous with their money and their hearts were open but they got a star. The shepherds, they get an angelic choir with clear direction and they hear from the parents, this is the Messiah and they get the privilege of taking what they had and sharing it.

For the first time in all the earth, the awaited God man who would come to save the world, shepherds get to give their time. For most of you, not for all but for most of you, your time is more valuable than your money. When we're talking about generosity, please don't think writing a check as good and wonderful that is is that my question would be how are you doing in your growth of generosity of giving your time?

I want you to know money is the training wheels. When you begin to say, God I want to give you the best of my time. I don't know what that looks like for you.

It's the early morning for me. I want to give you the best of my time. And if you're like me, you're going to get a call from someone and it shows up on your phone and I have about three people in my life when their name comes up, it's like this is not a short conversation. It's never a short conversation.

In fact, it's a conversation where I can ask one or two questions and 45 minutes later, if I hung up they wouldn't know it. But you know what I've realized is, Jesus loves unlovely people. Jesus made time for people that most of us don't want to make time for. And what I'm really saying, see what generosity is it breaks your pride. Generosity says this person where this dysfunction with this conversation with this baggage matters to God so they matter to me because he lives inside of me and giving my money is a pretty high control. I can do it on my terms. I give my time, it gets messy. The shepherds left work. It's one thing to write a check but I mean to leave work, to not work so much, to give time to family or a friend or to minister or to open your home in a small group.

Oh, but I'd have to leave work early and other people would get ahead while I, yeah. Takes faith, doesn't it? You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, How Does God Measure Generosity? He'll be right back with his application for this teaching from his series, The Genius of Generosity. In this insightful teaching, Chip helps us understand that being generous is more than making thoughtful financial decisions.

It's following a completely different lifestyle and if we do that, we'll dramatically improve our relationships with God and others. Stay with us as we learn some simple practices to be both wise in our giving and generous in how we live our lives. To get more plugged in with this series and our resources, visit

That's Well before we go any further, Chip's joined me in studio and Chip, in this series, you've opened our eyes to the subtle lie many Christians believe about generosity. If I give, I won't have enough for me or I'm going to feel shortchanged. We'll unpack the danger of that lie, will you, and then talk about a resource that we have that can change our perspective. Well Dave, let me tell you, I think that lie has kept people from experiencing God's fullness and His grace and His power in their life. But behind that lie really is that God isn't generous, that He doesn't want to bless, that if I give of my time or if I give of my money or even if I give of my friendship and my energy, there won't be enough left over for me. And the fact of the matter is that's the law of the flesh, not the law of the kingdom. Our God is good and kind.

He's a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. And what I've learned is that this kingdom principle, that as we give, as we are more and more like Him and as we release and give and share, He just keeps filling up our life and our heart and even our bank accounts so that we can give to others. Now it's never a give to get and it doesn't mean your life is going to work out just perfect. But I can tell you this, that when people are generous, when you begin to have your antenna up looking for opportunities to love and to care and to share, it can be as simple as buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you or seeing the homeless person and instead of feeling guilty, you walk in the restaurant, you don't give him money, you're not sure where it's going to go, and you buy him a hamburger or buy him, you know, one of those little breakfast sandwiches and you walk out and sit next to him and you give it to him and sit with five or ten minutes. And I will tell you what, your heart and your life absolutely changes. And this little book, The Genius of Generosity, that I've had the privilege of writing, is short, only 100 pages.

It's only five by seven with a beautiful little leatherette cover. And what it allows you to do is get your mind and your heart thinking the way God thinks about generosity. And what you begin to grasp is that God has unlimited, unlimited resource, money, energy, time, and He's just looking for a man or a woman like you that He can pour it through.

That's a great point, Chip. And to help all of you better understand what it means to be generous in God's eyes, we'd like to give you two of these books, one for you and one for someone else at no cost. Just go to the Special Offers tab at or the Chip Ingram app. Our hope is that you and your spouse or a close friend will read this book together and then put these principles of generosity into practice. To request your two copies of The Genius of Generosity, visit the Special Offers tab at or the Chip Ingram app.

Now, this is a limited time offer, one order per customer, while supplies last. Well, here again is Chip with a few final thoughts that he'd like to share. In today's teaching, I made one central point. God does not measure our generosity by the size of our gift, but by the size of our sacrifice.

And I talked about the widow's mite, a very familiar story. But what I want you to really think and ponder with me is that finances are the training wheels of generosity. When the God of heaven looks down from heaven at my life and your life and He's evaluating our level of generosity, He goes so far beyond just our money. The graduate course in generosity is the incarnation.

It's the Christmas story. As I talked about, the magi bring their money, the shepherds bring their time. Then in the conclusion of this message, you'll learn that Joseph will give his reputation, that Mary will give her future, that Jesus will give his life, and that the Father will actually give his one and only son. And so what I want you to know is that this generosity journey is so much more than what percentage, and is it off the gross or is it off the net, and that God wants your life to be a living sacrifice that's generous. And so if we could just remove the money side, although it's very important, are you generous with your time? Are you generous with your reputation? Are you generous?

Could God do whatever He wants with your future? Do you have time for people? Are you off the treadmill of demand and other people's expectation and having to be in control? Or is your life with palms open saying, God, I'm a conduit of the supernatural grace that you've given me, and it's your time and it's your reputation and it's your future entrusted to me and it's all my life? And what I want you to know is that when you get on that ladder of generosity, amazing things happen. Yes, the price tag goes up, but what you see and what you'll learn in the conclusion of this message is that the intimacy with God and the impact of your life exponentially multiplies as you learn to be generous with far more than your money. I just have to tell you, it's one of my most favorite messages, and you really need to see the chart that I made and go on the website, it's, where it says message notes, click and download, print out this message, and just look at the picture. And at the bottom of the picture I write, generosity is to love as thunder is to lightning. And I just want you to know that at the end of the day, it's loving God and loving people, and the way we love God and love people, at the heart of it is being generous.

Ask God to make you a generous person and then start practicing with your time today. Thanks, Chip. Well, you'll find the message notes he just mentioned in a couple of places. Go to and click the broadcasts tab. App listeners will find them by tapping fill in notes. You'll get his outline, all of his scripture references, and lots of fill-ins to help you remember what you hear. So I hope you'll take advantage of this resource the next time you listen. Well, for Chip and the entire team, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-03 05:10:13 / 2023-01-03 05:20:01 / 10

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