By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Deep down, every one of us is generous. We all give our money, our time, and our energy away to someone. The problem is that some people are only generous for their own benefit. Even when they're "giving","they're really only looking for something in return" (Luke 6:34-35). This kind of lifestyle has no place in God's kingdom. Sincere, biblical generosity gives to others without expecting to ever be paid back.
Jesus, of course, was the most generous person who ever lived, giving His life for people who did not deserve it and who could never pay Him back (Romans 5:8). As leaders, our lives should be marked by radical generosity. We should give financially when appropriate, being very openhanded when a need is presented. But generosity with money is only a start. Generous leaders see the needs of the people around them as opportunities to share the love of God, to invest in others, and to build genuine relationships.
Jesus took one boy's lunch and multiplied it so there was enough food to feed everyone present. The accounts say there were five thousand men present, which means there might have been an equal number of women and children present.
Jesus could have warned the crowd in the morning that they should bring a sack lunch. He could have shrugged off the needs of those people as "not my problem." The disciples knew that the people would be hungry, and they offered a sensible suggestion to Jesus: Send everybody home before dark.
But Jesus didn't send the people away. He provided for them. That's the generosity of Jesus. He gave when He didn't have to and with no expectation of anything in return.
Would others consider you a generous person? Make it a point this week to be intentionally generous with someone in need. If possible, try to give secretly (see Matthew 6:1-4).
Prayer: God, thank You for the generosity You displayed when You sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Reveal ways that I may generously give of my resources to help those around me who are in need. May You use me as an example of a generous leader. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?" (1 John 3:17).