I recently went on a holiday that required plenty of walking. As I slowly meandered behind my family members, I noticed that they walked in an almost identical way. And they weren’t alone. Everywhere I went, families were getting about the place with the same gait. There was even one father with a distinct limp whose son had adopted his right-leaning pattern. I’m sure that none of the sons and daughters set out to walk like their parents, but the family influence was obvious.
The writer of Genesis says that “God created human beings in His own image…” and in Romans, Paul adds “His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm we are God’s children.” We’re created to be like God and by grace, through salvation, we’re adopted into Christ’s lineage. Just like the families I observed on my holiday, followers of Jesus began to walk like their Father. His traits permeate our way of being. Generosity becomes a telltale sign of who we are.
A perfect example of this transformative experience is Jericho’s chief tax collector and one of its most reviled citizens, Zacchaeus. From the moment Jesus stops to talk with him, Zacchaeus begins to mirror the unexpected generosity of his Saviour. A man made rich by ill-gotten gains, he declares, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Zacchaeus couldn’t help but show exuberant generosity because of the One who showed him undeserved grace. Tellingly, Jesus meets Zacchaeus’ magnanimous declaration with one of His own: “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.” The tax collector’s benevolence marked him as a member of God’s family.
Perhaps your journey toward generosity hasn’t been quite as radical as that of Zacchaeus. Mine certainly hasn’t. But perhaps, like me, you’ve experienced the undeserved grace of a Father who looks upon His adopted children with overflowing generosity. When we mirror His generosity, our willingness to give shows the world the nature of our Father, in whose image we are created.