By: Madeleine Williams, Partners Worldwide Marketing Intern
When we think about generosity, money often comes to mind first. Though monetary giving is necessary, the Bible views generosity as much more than a financial concept.
Through my internship at Partners Worldwide, I’ve been inspired by how the people in our global network embody a spirit of biblical generosity. Whether the leaders of our Local Community Institutions (LCIs) or our volunteer Business Affiliates (BAs), each give freely of their time, knowledge, skills, and finances to serve entrepreneurs, farmers, and businesses all over the world.
As our faith compels us to live generously, Scripture models the spirit in which we are to do that. Here are five postures we are called to embody as we give:
In Matthew 10:8, Jesus says to his disciples, “Freely you have received; freely give.” From Christ, we receive love, grace, forgiveness, new life, hope for the future, reconciliation, redemption, and endless other gifts. When we reflect on all we have received, we quickly and humbly realize that there is nothing we can do to earn or be worthy of these gifts.
As people of faith, it is our responsibility and joy to share freely—blessing others in the ways we have been blessed. And giving freely not only blesses others, but prompts them to embody the same spirit of trust and joy from which authentic giving flows.
Scripture shows us that it’s not what you give that matters, but the motivations and posture of your heart as you give that do. 2 Corinthians 9:7 reads: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Opposed to giving from a place of obligation or pride, God desires us to give cheerfully.
The Bible also talks about giving in a humble manner that glorifies God, not us. Jesus says in Matthew 6:2-4:
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others… But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
When we give, doing so in humility—remembering that all we have comes from God first—helps those in need more effectively and glorifies God more completely.
Providing community and a sense of belonging is one of the most precious gifts we can give. In Hebrews 13:2, we are reminded: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Whether sharing a meal with friends or befriending a recently resettled refugee family in your community, when we live hospitably we embody the love of God in the world.
As the story of the widow in Mark 12 reminds us, we are called to give generously:
“Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
When we give generously, it not only blesses others but is an act of humility and faith. It demonstrates our trust in God’s goodness and provision.
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As an intern at Partners Worldwide this past spring, I had the privilege of witnessing bold, biblical generosity. Our global network of partners, volunteers, entrepreneurs, farmers, staff members, and donors generously give of themselves and their resources to end poverty and create economic opportunities around the world.
I’m reminded of this example as we enter the Christmas season and celebrate the birth of Christ. May we strive to reflect his boundless love and embody a Kingdom spirit of giving—blessing others freely, cheerfully, humbly, hospitably, and generously.
Madeleine Williams interned at Partners Worldwide in the spring of 2017. She is studying Business Communications and International Development as a senior at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. Maddie is passionate about writing for the social good, learning about the world, loving her family and friends, and looking for the next best recipe to cook.