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Biblical Perspective of Generosity and Its Effect on Christian Character Development

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A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON GENEROSITY AND ITS EFFECT ON CHRISTIAN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

INTRODUCTION

This paper will examine several Scriptural passages from both Old and New Testaments with respect to their teachings about the role of generosity. It aims to discuss and analysis the biblical perspective of generosity on its source and its challenges for the today's Christian society. It will be argued that a common theme in all of the passages is a concern with generosity as a Christian virtue.

This paper does not envelop critical evaluation because of the limitation of resources and the limitation of the paper requirement. This paper will explain the basic biblical ideas concerning God's Generosity and how it implies to human daily lives.

Talking about "Generosity" in today context would be basically picturing about a person who give lots of money. Generosity is often closely related with Charity or almsgiving and contribution. Today we live in a very needy world and society which demand generosity at its full extant.

Definition

The term Generosity is defined in various ways in different dictionaries:

1. Willing to give and share unstintingly

2. Liberal in giving or sharing; munificence

3. Characterized by nobility and forbearance in thought or behavior; magnanimous

4. The trait of being willing to give your money or time

5. Acting generously (syn: unselfishness)

6. archaic : highborn

7. a : characterized by a noble or forbearing spirit : magnanimous, kindly b : liberal in giving : openhanded c : marked by abundance or ample proportions : copious

synonym see LIBERAL

(http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/generous+)

The root meaning of the term Generosity is as follows:

1. From French genereux, of noble birth, magnanimous, the quality of being noble; noble-mindedness.

2. From Latin gener sus, from genus, gener-, birth

I. The Biblical view of Generosity

a. God - The Generous Giver

It all being's from God. God is the greatest example of generosity by giving us incredible gift. He gave everything-grace, mercy and made us heir to all his inheritance through his generous, unspeakable gift: Jesus Christ. God knows only one way to give and he always give only one way that is generously. And in giving He never gives just enough to get by but more than enough. He is all grace, all sufficiency, all mercy and we are complete in Him. The regard to his generosity Peter says, "We lack nothing pertaining to life and godliness" (1 Peter 1:3). God set the example by His own generosity and this is how we as Christians right to give, for it is the Lord's will.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew law institutionalized helping the poor. God commands the Israelites regarding the needy and the helpless (Deut 24:10-21). In those days, when a loan was made, the pledge was usually a cloak. If a person were not able to return the money on time, the cloak was not to be returned. However, it was the Lord's command that if the poor man would not return the loan, the cloak was to be given back before sunset so that the poor many could sleep without feeling cold. The Israelites were also not to take advantage on any poor hired man. They were to pay the wages each day before sunset. Further, even in the harvest field, they were to leave the fallen cleaves for the poor and alien, the same was to be done during the olive and grape harvest. Additionally the Lord's generosity is not only on the Israelites but on the aliens as well.

b. Jesus' Ministry

Both the OT and NT give many importance of charity or generosity towards the needy. Helping those in need is one of the major themes of the Bible and of Jesus' ministry." (Extravagant Generosity, John Pearson, article). In Matt. 20:-6, Jesus gives a striking picture of God's generosity, giving without regard to the measures of strict justice. In the parable, there is a reward. All the workers, those who started from the morning and those who came at the last hour received the same amount of reward. It is important to notice that these who came at the last our were ones who could not find work. They were needy and standing near the vineyard, they were hoping that the landlord would hire them. This parable gives a clear picture of God's generosity. The Bible gives account that God takes the side of the poor, the oppressed and the forsaken. Jesus, demonstrated this again and again in his ministry. In the beginning of his ministry, Jesus stood up at the synagogue at Nazareth and Read Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:18-19). He made it clear to the listeners that his mission included freeing the oppressed and healing the blend. It is very significantly mentioned that, "the poor are the only group specifically singled out as recipients of Jesus' gospel." (Rich Christianity). This however should not be misinterpreted, because the gospel is for all. His singling out the poor was because of his concern for the poor and he wanted them to realize that his heart beats for them as they cry out in despair and have not hope. Jesus came not only to give the spiritual needs but he also came to fulfill the material by physical needs as well. In proclaiming that we had come to preach good news to the poor, the free captives, to recover sight to the blind, and to set prisoners free, we see haven spending considerable time ministering to lepers (Matt 8: 2-4, Mk 1:4042, Lk 5:12-13), paralyzed people (matt. 9: 2-7, Mk 2:3-12, Lk 5:18-25) despised women (John 4:5-42; 7:36-50) and other marginalized people. He healed the sick and blind. He fed the hunger (Mtt. 14:13-21; 15:32-39 etc). He not only did these but he also warned his disciples and the other listeners that those who neglect the hungry, those who do not clothe the naked, and visit prisoner will face eternal damnation (Mtt. 25:31-45).

c. The Apostolic Ministry (Early Church)

Charged with the same Fire and passion, the apostles continued to preach the gospel after the resurrection. They did not take lightly what they had been taught and seen during three days with their

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