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Living GenerouslySample

Living Generously

DAY 1 OF 8

Generous With Time

Busyness is a cultural epidemic, and bizarrely, it seems everyone wants to catch the disease. But instead of selfishly hoarding our time and over-cramming our schedules, we can learn to pour out our time generously in service to God and others. In John 12:3 we read that Jesus’ friend, Mary, took time to anoint His feet with costly perfume. It’s the story of a disciple of Christ living generously out of her love for God.

Jesus has just raised her brother, Lazarus, from the dead. Mary had been disappointed – possibly angry – that Jesus wasn’t there when Lazarus died. She knew He could’ve saved her brother, and yet she manages to love Jesus completely and say how bewildered and upset she is too – a balancing act Christians through the ages have found immensely difficult. The events that unfolded meant that Mary experienced worry, dread, frustration, anger, pain, confusion, love, grief, and then astonishment and extraordinary joy. It’s in the midst of her emotional maelstrom that she chooses to anoint Jesus’ feet, seizing an opportunity to serve Him. Her act of extravagant generosity stems from her relationship with Jesus. The heart of Mary’s story is just that: heart. She understood something of Jesus’ transcendent love, and she set her love upon Him in return. Our generosity, too, is directly inspired and shaped by our relationship with Christ. We can’t lead generous lives just because we feel we should. We lead generous lives because we can’t do otherwise.

Mary models the transformative power of generosity, showing us how we might respond to God’s generosity by being generous ourselves. When Mary anoints Jesus’ feet, she’s giving up time she could’ve spent on anything else, putting His needs above hers. She instinctively knows what matters more. She doesn’t rush, tenderly caring for Him. Her sister, Martha, is busy being a fabulous hostess. Most of us are more Martha than Mary: addicted to busyness. Busyness can show how invaluable, heroic, and servant-hearted we are. We’re essential to what’s going on! Busyness even gives us an air of superiority over the less busy. Take time to consider where you most need to fight your busyness addiction. Would it affect your sense of purpose if you were suddenly freed up in this area? Next, ask God to show you where, and with whom, you need to slow down. Let’s muster the courage not to be constantly busy in a culture where constant busyness equals worth, and instead to give our time in generous service to God and others.

We’re called to be generous with time – a rare and precious commodity. By giving to others the gift of our time, we’re letting them know that they matter. Being generous with our time also helps us fight unnecessary busyness, distraction, and the need for affirmation from others. In a world where countless demands compete for calendar space, may it be evident, twenty-four hours at a time, that we’re a people who live generously.

Day 2

About this Plan

Living Generously

In this eight-day reading plan, Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood explores the simple, powerful moment in which Mary, a friend and follower of Jesus, displays the kind of astonishing generosity God Himself pours out on us. The ...


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