by Karen Perlman
On the Tuesday after Black Friday, individuals and organizations all over the world participate in a global movement of generosity known as Giving Tuesday. The movement began with an idea to encourage others to do good one day a year. Years later, it has turned into a global network that inspires each other to be generous every day.
I love the concept of generosity, but if I'm completely honest, there are more times I find myself reluctant to be generous than I'd like to admit. For me, sometimes it's hard to give. When I'm in a hurry, it can be challenging to give a needy friend or family member a few extra moments of my time. It can be difficult to open my home to a guest when I want to be alone. And it can be arduous to give my hard-earned financial resources away to someone in need. If I'm honest, sometimes I wish someone else could be generous, so I don't have to be.
As a Christian, Christ has called us to cultivate a life of generosity – Not to check the box so we can classify ourselves as Christians, but because it reflects the heart and character of God. "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). When we choose to give, it is life-giving to us and those we are generous toward. It propels hope and connects humanity in a way that nothing else can.
If giving is such a good thing, then why is it sometimes so hard to do? For me, the answer tends to lie in two reasons. First, I'm selfish. More often than not, I want to choose what I do with my resources on terms that best suit me. But 1 John 3:16-18 tells us that "We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” In Acts 20:35, Paul tells us that "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The second reason it's difficult for me to give is because of fear. Fear that if I don't provide for and protect myself, then no one, including God, will either. Especially when my own resources are limited. Malachi 3:10-11 exhorts us to "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!’"
Choosing to be generous requires personal sacrifice, which Christ exemplified for us on the cross. As we choose generosity, we learn that it truly is better to give than to receive. Life is given to both the giver and the receiver. It also teaches us that God is trustworthy. He increases our dependence on Him and reminds us that He is good and cares for us. We end up storing our treasures in heaven, rather than on earth.
Working here at Tyndale House Foundation has not only taught me how to cultivate an attitude of generosity in my own life but provided me with avenues to put it into action. Generosity is the bedrock of Tyndale House Publishers and Tyndale House Foundation – not just with their financial resources that they commit to give away to Christian mission organizations each year. The culture of generosity exists in the day to day details of how leadership and staff give of their time and resources to build one another up, encourage each other and work to further the kingdom of God. Generosity is a vital part of Tyndale’s mission and a crucial part of the life of every Christian.
This Giving Tuesday, all of us at Tyndale House Publishers and Tyndale House Foundation encourage all our customers, partners, and readers to consider the importance of generosity, find ways to cultivate it in our lives and inspire others to do the same.